Senate passes bill with Kennedy measure empowering Louisiana to channel COVID relief funds to disaster recovery, infrastructure

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WASHINGTON – The Senate has passed the State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act, cosponsored by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.).

The bill, S. 3011, would allow state governments to use unspent pandemic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to provide relief for natural disaster victims and to invest in infrastructure needs.

“Louisianians have gone through historic hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters over the last 18 months, and they still need help rebuilding their homes and businesses. I’m thankful to have worked with Sens. Cornyn and Padilla to give Louisiana’s state officials the power to redirect unspent coronavirus money for disaster victims and/or infrastructure. I hope the House follows suit quickly by sending this bill to the president’s desk,” said Kennedy.

Louisiana’s state government received approximately $4.8 billion from the ARPA’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. The fund was established to replace lost revenue for state and local governments in the wake of the pandemic and its economic shutdowns and to support pandemic response efforts. Kennedy successfully worked to include a measure in the State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act that would allow the state government to redirect remaining funds.

Up to 100 percent of the remaining $4.8 billion can go to traditional disaster relief efforts, or up to 30 percent of the $4.8 billion can be invested in infrastructure, assuming the funding has not already been used.

With this flexibility, the decision of how to invest the remaining COVID relief money rests with the Louisiana state government.

Text of the bill is available here.

Watch the video of Kennedy’s comments here.

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