Georgia Doling Out More Than $11 Million in COVID Relief to Help Teachers

The Georgia Department of Education is dishing out more than $11 million in federal COVID-19 relief to help more than 14,600 Georgia teachers.

The State Board of Education approved $6.8 million in Expanding Opportunities for Teachers Grants for 19 school districts, higher education institutions and Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESAs). Recipients can use the money to pay for tuition, fees and exam costs for Georgia public school teachers enrolled in approved Teacher and Teacher Leader Endorsement programs.

Read More

Pennsylvania Senator Toomey Pushes for Accounting of COVID Spending

While President Joe Biden proposed $22.5 billion in coronavirus-related spending this week, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey (R) urged clarification of how the government has spent almost $6 trillion in earlier COVID relief.

Toomey joined 35 Senate colleagues in writing to Biden asking for a detailed explication of the disbursements made over the last two years which, the authors noted, amounted to the largest allotment of taxpayer money for one concern in American history.

Read More

Commentary: $800 Billion Stimulus Program Failed Terribly and Mostly Benefited the Wealthy, MIT Economist Finds

Close up of federal check

The federal government has spent an astounding $42,000 per federal taxpayer on so-called “stimulus” efforts since the pandemic began. Where did all that money go? Well, as it turns out, one of the biggest stimulus programs, the Paycheck Protection Program, failed miserably.

At least, that’s the finding of a new study from MIT economist David Autor and nine coauthors. They examined the $800 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which gave “loans,” most of which won’t have to be paid back, to businesses. It was created by Republicans and Democrats in Congress alike in hopes of helping businesses preserve their employees’ jobs for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. 

The study tracks the money to see where it ended up and what it achieved. The results… aren’t pretty. 

Read More

Metro Asks for $1.9 Million to Clean and Manage Parks

Nashville’s Metro Parks asked the Metro Council for $1.9 million to clean and manage some of the cities parks. Metro Parks requested the money in October during the COVID-19 Financial Oversight Committee.

From the $1.9 million, about $850,000 will be put towards renovating Brookmeade Park. Brookmeade has become a permanent campsite to many in the homeless community after Nashville “evicted” people who were living under the Jefferson Bridge.

Read More

Tennessee Officials to Allocate COVID-Relief Funds to Increase Internet Access in Underserved Regions

Crystal Ivey, broadband director at Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD), said Wednesday that $500 million in taxpayer money bestowed upon Tennessee in the latest round of federal COVID-19 relief will go toward broadband expansion.

ECD officials and Governor Bill Lee (R) have stressed the heightened importance of telecommuting, e-commerce, telemedicine and distance learning after the pandemic hit.

Read More

Treasury Department Has Distributed Fraction of Emergency Rent Assistance with Just Days Until Evictions Begin

US Treasury Dept

The Department of the Treasury has awarded a small fraction of the tens of billions of dollars Congress appropriated for pandemic rental assistance since January.

The federal government has expended less than $3 billion of the $46.6 billion in funds given to the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program, the Treasury Department announced on Wednesday. The U.S. doled out $1.49 billion from January through May and $1.5 billion in June to low-income renters nationwide, according to a spreadsheet published by the Treasury.

Read More

CDC Awarded Davidson and Shelby Counties Nearly $12 Million to Address COVID Health Disparities for Minorities

CDC

The CDC awarded nearly $12 million collectively to Davidson and Shelby counties to address COVID-related health disparities in racial and ethnic minorities. Overall, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) was awarded nearly $39 million in total this past week, with a rural carveout totaling over $8.3 million. The CDC says this funding to a total of 107 recipients is part of a larger goal to “advance health equity.”

The Metro Public Health Department of Nashville and Davidson County received over $4.9 million in these funds, while Shelby County Health Department received nearly $6.6 million. The Tennessee Star inquired with the CDC how the funds can be used specifically to address COVID-related health disparities among racial or ethnic minorities, and what metrics they would use to measure progress within the awarded states and localities. The CDC didn’t respond by press time.

Read More

Tennessee Proposes Giving Millions More in COVID Relief to Businesses

Tennessee is considering giving over $40 million in additional COVID relief funds to businesses, as the state’s economy continues to recover.

The Financial Accountability Stimulus Group proposed utilizing the funds from the federal government, enabled by this year’s COVID-19 relief package. The goal of the funds is to increase the size of payouts businesses can receive for their losses throughout the pandemic.

Read More

Alabama Becomes Latest State to End $300 Unemployment Bonus

Close up of federal check

Alabama will soon cease participating in the federal government’s unemployment insurance program that grants out-of-work Americans an extra $300 per week, the state’s governor said.

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey announced that the state would withdraw from the coronavirus relief program by June 19, 2021, arguing that the $300 in additional weekly payments was incentivizing people not to look for jobs. She suggested that the labor shortages reported in states across the country have been caused by the unemployment boost.

“As Alabama’s economy continues its recovery, we are hearing from more and more business owners and employers that it is increasingly difficult to find workers to fill available jobs, even though job openings are abundant,” Ivey said in a statement.

Read More

Commentary: Federal ‘COVID’ Spending Just Hit $41,870 Per Taxpayer

President Biden just signed his sweeping $1.9 trillion spending package into law. Once this bill hits the books, total taxpayer expenditure on (ostensibly) COVID relief will hit $6 trillion—which, roughly estimated, comes out to $41,870 in spending per federal taxpayer. 

Did you see anywhere near that much in benefit? 

Read More

Billions of Coronavirus Stimulus Money Still Hasn’t Been Spent, Republican Senators Say in Letter to Biden

US Capitol

A group of ten Republican senators outlined a less expensive coronavirus relief compromise bill and said much of the past stimulus passed during the pandemic hasn’t been spent yet.

The proposed stimulus framework builds on prior legislation that passed with bipartisan support, the 10 senators wrote in the letter Sunday. The group, which included Sens. Mitt Romney, Thom Tillis, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, also requested a meeting with President Joe Biden to discuss the bill.

Read More

Commentary: The Constitutional Politics of President Trump’s Impoundment Move

To understand President Trump’s signing of the latest so-called COVID-19 “stimulus” bill after days of veto threats, we need to understand the critical constitutional history of the Watergate era. 

Citing the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, Trump declared, “I will sign the Omnibus and COVID package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill.” 

Read More

Rep. Ilhan Omar, Sen. Bernie Sanders Push Bill Taxing Billionaires 60 Percent to Fund One Year of Healthcare for All

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) introduced a bill Friday to tax billionaires sixty percent of their pandemic-earned assets. The proposed bill, “Make Billionaires Pay Act,” would use the tax money to cover individual healthcare expenses for one year.

In a tweeted video, Sanders argued billionaires have profited off the coronavirus pandemic while the rest of the country has suffered.

Read More