“Today the President will announce additional steps to get Americans back to work, including removing barriers that are preventing Americans from returning safely to good-paying work and taking steps to make it easier for employers to hire new workers,” the official said.
States, counties, metropolitan cities, tribes and territories can begin applying for their share, which could start being dispersed within days, a senior administration official told reporters Monday.
Noting that state and local governments have shed 1.3 million jobs since the start of the pandemic, officials said the funds will allow teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, public safety and frontline personnel and essential workers — among others — to be rehired. Governments can also provide premium pay to essential workers.
In addition, the money can be spent on longer-term improvements to communities, including investments in clean drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems and in broadband expansion.
States will have to demonstrate how they have spent their allotments on eligible uses, another senior administration official said. If they want to cut taxes, they can, but they must demonstrate that the reductions were not supported by the federal funding.
“A state would simply have to show, ‘Here’s where the money went. We used it. We were not gaming in any way to indirectly free up other money for the tax relief’,” the official said. “If they meet that test, then of course they have their sovereign right as states to do whatever would like, including tax reductions.”
Addressing child care needs
The money, which also came from the relief package, also aims to assist women in getting back to work and strengthen the economic revival, the White House said.
Providers can use the funds to pay the rent, mortgage, insurance, utility bills, payroll and debts incurred because of the coronavirus pandemic. The money can also be used to buy personal protective equipment and implement safety measures, such as improving ventilation. States also can provide direct subsidies to families to help cover child care costs.
Defending unemployment benefits
In his remarks, the President will also reaffirm the basic rules of unemployment insurance benefits.