The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was a $1.9 trillion bill that Democrats rammed through Congress on a party-line vote in early 2021. But with the Covid pandemic almost entirely contained, and spending-fueled inflation still uncurbed, many Americans are wondering nearly two years later if we need a ‘rescue plan’ for the American Rescue Plan.
ARPA was sold as an emergency measure to help the United States address the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact. But according to a recent Fox News report, “just 12% of the over $100 billion earmarked for elementary and secondary schools” has been spent so far, according to federal statistics. And at the end of March 2022, “only about $70 billion of the $350 billion allocated for state and local governments had been spent. Just over $100 billion of that money was contractually committed to be spent.”
While much of ARPA that has been spent undoubtedly went to the Covid response, there is much that has gone to non-Covid items, and much of the budgeted funds are still untapped.
The Fox News report cites a Treasury spokesperson that indicates that at least 67% of the money available to state and local governments was budgeted through March, when available funding was “just under $225 billion.”
“That means likely about half of the overall $350 billion had been budgeted for future use by late March,” the report added.
“Washington allocated $350 billion to state and local governments to close budget deficits that did not even exist,” Manhattan Institute senior fellow Brian Riedl told Fox News Digital. “These states are totally awash in more money than they know what to do with, so it’s no surprise they haven’t allocated yet – they’re going to be sitting on this money for years.” Read more