Many mayors across America pleaded with Congress to immediately act on a huge COVID-19 relief package. Local officials are now taking their time before spending the money. According to the Associated Press review, the first financial reports required by the law had not been submitted, the majority of large states and cities hadn’t spent a penny of the American Rescue Plan, which was championed and supported by Democrats and President Joe Biden.
According to the AP analysis, states had only spent 2.5% of their initial allotment and large cities 8.5%. Many states and local governments indicated that they were still planning for their part of the $350billion, which could be used on a variety of programs. Although Biden signed the law on March 1, the Treasury Department did not release the money or spending guidelines until May. Some state legislatures had already completed their budget work for next year and left the Treasury Department with no authority to give the money to the governors.
Some states waited for several months before asking the federal government for their part. Sometimes, cities waited several months to ask the federal government for their share while seeking suggestions from the public. Some government officials, still trying to figure how to spend the previous rounds of federal pandemic assistance, simply didn’t see an immediate need for additional cash. It’s a lot money that’s been out there. It’s a sign that the money has not been wasted,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. When more than 400 mayors signed a petition urging Congress to pass Biden’s plan, he was the president of U.S. Conference of Mayors.