Welch: Extend CARES Act deadline


WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter Welch on Friday introduced legislation to extend the deadline for state and local governments to use funds appropriated by the CARES Act. Currently, the state and local relief funds from the CARES Act must be used by Dec. 31, making it impossible to complete long-term recovery projects. Rep. Welch’s bill would fix that by authorizing the use of these funds through Sept. 30, 2021.
“Our state and local communities need help to get through this unprecedented and challenging time,” Welch said in a press release. “But implementing the changes needed to cope with the disruptions to our lives, work and communities caused by the coronavirus pandemic will take time. From implementing broadband projects to continuing safe school re-openings, this bill will give Vermont the flexibility it needs to use the funds passed by Congress in the CARES Act.
“Extending the deadline to use these funds will help complete important projects but it is no substitute for the badly needed additional aid included in the House passed Heroes Act. We must pass another relief package without delay.”
Through more than 100 meetings with Vermonters across the state, Welch has identified several areas that will benefit from extending the CARES Act deadline. Among them are:
• Broadband projects that often take longer to complete. With remote work and school, reliable internet has become more important than ever.
• Help for the homeless and other housing projects that need assistance past December 31st.
• Keeping children safe during the second semester of school, including HVAC and other safety upgrades that are constrained by an end of year deadline.
• Agricultural Support programs that are still determining farm needs and adjustments.
• Adjustments to seating and other safety improvements for the State Legislature and other state agencies.
• Some state IT projects critical to delivering services to Vermonters.
Full text of the bill is here. It is cosponsored by Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.).

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