Q&A: House Speaker Shekarchi on budget, transition and affordable housing

Politics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Speaker of the House Joseph Shekarchi said they’re still working to learn how the proposed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan will impact Rhode Island’s bottom line.

“We don’t really know what the requirements are or the regulations surrounding that, or what we can and can’t use it for,” Shekarchi said of the upwards of $1 billion the state is expected to get.

“It’s a one-time allocation,” he continued. “I just want people to understand this is not going to be a new revenue source for years to come.”

He added that the General Assembly might have more control over how this round of federal money is spent, whereas Governor Gina Raimondo had mostly unilateral authority over the spending of CARES Act money last year.

On Saturday, the Senate approved President Joe Biden’s plan, sending the bill back to the House where it is expected to be passed and brought to the president’s desk to be signed.

Shekarchi also discussed his push to address the issue of affordable housing in the state, and how the transition to a new administration is going at the State House.

R.I. House Speaker Joseph Shakarchi’s full interview with 12 News at 4 is in the video above.

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