July 15, 2020
Press Release
POTTSVILLE, Pa. – Today, Congressman Dan Meuser (PA-09) sent a letter to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, urging him to release COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant Program funds entitled to Lebanon County. By refusing to release the funding to Lebanon County, the Governor’s office is exceeding its authority in distributing relief funds which were designated for all Pennsylvanians by both the state and federal governments:
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided direct funding for states and some localities, including roughly $4.9 billion in direct funding for Pennsylvania. PA House Bill 2510, signed into law by Governor Wolf as Act 24, allocated portions of this funding to various programs at the state level and created the COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant program. Section 130-C of Act 24 lays out the requirements for a determination of a county’s eligibility for funding, concluding that all counties would receive formulaic funding based upon their population.
The Pennsylvania DCED added additional requirements to Act 24, mandating counties to follow all state-issued closure orders to guarantee eligibility for the program. Because Lebanon County did not initially follow such orders, they have been denied funding to assist their residents amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. These new parameters set forth by the Wolf Administration are in direct conflict with the PA General Assembly’s legislative intent of the County Relief Block Grant program. Further, these requirements are not in line with guidance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the federal entity responsible for distributing CARES funding to the states.
You can read the full letter HERE
In response to Governor Wolf’s latest mandate further restricting operations of restaurants across the commonwealth, Congressman Meuser released the following statement:
“Today’s announcement from the Governor is not fair to hardworking Pennsylvanians, especially those in areas where COVID-19 cases remain significantly lower than in urban centers. Businesses across our state have suffered greatly from a crisis they had no part in creating. They cannot afford another prolonged shutdown. These restrictions unfortunately reflect just how out of touch the Governor is with rural Pennsylvania and that he is not pursuing a data-driven strategy to mitigate the spread of the virus.”