Fight over CARES Act funding in Mississippi

Coronavirus

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The fight over the CARES Act money is brewing between Governor Tate Reeves and Legislative leaders in Mississippi.

Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn are allegedly working behind the scenes to strip authority from the governor to appropriate $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds.

The two have instructed the Department of Finance not to spend the money. Reeves did not mince words in response to the action.

“If it means that I have to fight to get money to the people of Mississippi as quickly as possible, the ones who absolutely need it, the 170,000 Mississippians who have lost their jobs, the small business owners, many of whom didn’t get the PPP program because they didn’t qualify, the folks on the front lines, the people like teachers who’ve spent their own money to upgrade their technology, spent their own money to upgrade their technology so they could do distance learning. People all across the state have made sacrifices, and we have got to be smart but move expeditiously,” said Reeves.

The governor added that politics and bureaucracy should not delay Mississippians getting much needed assistance from the CARES Act funds.

Reeves cited a 40-year-old law that gives the governor the authority to accept and to disburse federal funds in an emergency. He said it was used in the past to appropriate federal funds in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Great Recession in 2009 and the BP oil spill in 2010.

The State House is expected to come back into session on Friday, May 1, at 1:00 p.m. The State Senate is expected to meet on Monday, weeks earlier than expected.

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