V.I. Attorney General Denise George has joined a coalition of attorneys general representing 43 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories urging Congress to extend the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economy (CARES) Act funding until the end of 2021.
The effort is being led by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who wrote the letter signed by the attorneys general and sent it to Congress today urging members to extend the Dec. 30, 2020, deadline.
“One thing we have learned in the past several months is that the pandemic will continue to impact our entire community well beyond the December 2020 deadline. Virgin Islanders, along with much of the country, are still under a state of emergency with no definite end in sight. We will certainly continue to incur expenses and suffer economic hardships resulting from the pandemic well beyond the December 2020 deadline. An extension of the deadline to December 2021will help give our territory the relief we need,” said Attorney General George.
With several pending measures, including bipartisan extension measures in both the House and Senate, the attorneys general urge Congress to pass one of these measures to give states and local communities additional time to utilize the precious COVID-relief resources.
COVID-19 has negatively impacted nearly every facet of American society. In anticipation of unprecedented costs and economic disruption stemming from the pandemic, Congress passed the CARES Act in March. The move provided more than $2 trillion in economic stimulus to state and local governments in an effort to combat the impacts of the pandemic.
One of the restrictions placed on the funding, however, limits the money’s use to expenses incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30, 2020.
“This time frame likely made sense in late March when the CARES Act was passed, but we have learned a great deal about COVID-19 in the past seven months,” the letter states. “Among other things, we know that the pandemic will continue to challenge communities well beyond Dec. 30 – a deadline that now seems unreasonable.”
As the pandemic continues to set record infections, states and local communities will continue to incur COVID-related expenses next year. By extending the deadline, communities nationwide will be able to be more strategic with the use of CARES Act funds, the attorneys general said.
In addition to George, the letter was signed by attorneys general in: Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.