PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ In the largest transfer of federal funds in the state’s history, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said Rhode Island received $625 million Friday through the Coronavirus Relief Fund he helped establish.
The funding, which is half of Rhode Island’s $1.25 billion allocation, was wired into the state’s bank account on Friday. Reed said the funding is now available for the state to use to combat the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 100 Rhode Islanders.
“This is a significant wave of fiscal cavalry in the state’s battle to save lives and help communities amidst a pandemic,” Reed said. “Whether it’s a public health emergency, an economic crisis, or in this case both, a swift, coordinated and effective response is critical.”
“This is an important start, but our work is far from over,” he added.
Reed created and pushed for the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund within the CARES Act. The funding will be dispersed to state governments, with a small-state minimum of $1.25 billion. Rhode Island should receive the second half of its allocation no later than April 26.
“Governor Raimondo has done a remarkable job, but no state can do it alone,” Reed said. “They need federal backup to save lives. There is a real danger that inaction by the Trump Administration could erode public health and safety and lead to our communities and taxpayers being financially overwhelmed and overrun.”
“This isn’t a windfall, and it won’t shield states from severe economic pain, but it will blunt the trauma and boost the state’s response and recovery capabilities,” Reed added. “It should give every state a fighting chance.”
Reed is now pushing to double the Coronavirus Relief Fund by another $150 billion in the next federal relief bill, suggesting that money should be used to help states shore up their budgets after revenue declines caused by the pandemic.
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