Iowa legislators request oversight meeting on Gov. Reynolds rejection of $95 million federal COVID-19 aid

Iowa News

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) – Democrats are asking for a committee review of the Gov. Reynolds Administration’s handling of federal COVID-19 relief funds.

The letter comes after Gov. Reynolds revealed last week on a Fox News Town Hall that she rejected $95 million in COVID-19 federal funds for testing in schools.

On Monday, State Senator Clarie Celsi and State Representative Ruth Ann Gaines called for a government oversight meeting in the House and Senate.

The meeting would give lawmakers the opportunity to discuss protocols for conducting oversight of the funding.

Both lawmakers wrote in a joint letter to the House and Senate Oversight Committee chairs that they were “flabbergasted to discover that Governor Reynolds sent $95 million in COVID-19 testing funding back to the U.S. Federal Government instead of giving schools the option to use it for COVID-19 testing protocols in their districts.”

Below is a copy of the full letter to the House and Senate Oversight Committee chairs.

Dear Senator Schultz and Representative Brink:

Greetings to you both and Happy Spring. It’ll be great to get out of the Capitol and enjoy the interim.

We’re writing today with concern over many issues, but with great urgency on one issue in particular. The billions of dollars sent to Iowa in the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan must be spent according to complicated and sometimes strict rules. We want to assure that the Reynolds Administration spend the money in accordance with the rules to the benefit of Iowans.

We were flabbergasted to discover that Governor Reynolds sent $95 million in COVID-19 testing funding back to the U.S. Federal Government instead of giving schools the option to use it for COVID-19 testing protocols in their districts.

It is our collective responsibility to monitor the disbursement of these funds to ensure it is being used for its intended purpose. Iowans deserve to know where the money is going and what it is being used for. At the end of the statutory spending period, they also deserve to know how much (if any) was leftover and how much should be sent back.

We’re calling on both of you to convene Government Oversight meetings in the House and Senate so committee members can discuss protocols for conducting oversight on this Federal funding stream. We are all accountable to the taxpayers and voters in Iowa and we should be very concerned about managing it.

Please call or email us as soon as possible to discuss timing of this proposed meeting. We would also be open to meeting jointly as the issue equally concerns both bodies.

Sincerely,

Claire Celsi                                                                                          Ruth Ann Gaines

State Senator                                                                                     State Representative

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