Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds delivers her statehood address Jan. 11 at the Statehouse in Des Moines. A regional White House spokesperson on Friday criticized Reynolds for taking credit for projects funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, which she opposed in 2021. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)
A White House spokesperson on Friday criticized Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds for taking credit for state projects funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, which she opposed in 2021 .
Haris Talwar, a White House regional spokesman, said Reynolds, a Republican, called the $1.9 trillion federal relief package “an unconstitutional stimulus bill that just bails out states.” blue”. in 2021.
“Now that the people of Iowa are benefiting from tens of thousands of created jobs and historic investments supporting child care, broadband expansion and improved school safety – we are grateful to Governor for recognizing the positive impacts of President Biden’s U.S. bailout on Iowa and the country,” Talwar said in a statement to the Gazette-Lee Des Moines Office.
Democrats have criticized Reynolds’ opposition to the plan for nearly a year, noting first after she announced a $200 million investment in rural broadband that used federal dollars.
The American Rescue Plan Act, passed by Democrats in a 2021 party vote, has provided hundreds of billions of dollars to state and local governments to offset COVID-19-related revenue loss.
U.S. Representative Cindy Axne, a Democrat from Des Moines, was the only one of the Iowa congressional delegation to vote for the bill.
The state received about $1.48 billion from the law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Reynolds’ spokesman Alex Murphy did not comment on the criticism, but pointed to Reynolds’ previous statements on the matter.
Last year, Reynolds told reporters that the state would be “very strategic about how we use these funds,” according to the Des Moines Register, and she reiterated that she opposed high spending by the federal government. .
Speaking to the Sioux City Journal in 2021, Reynolds said the price of the US bailout was far too high and included funding in areas that shouldn’t have been included.
“There is a cost to this, someone has to pay for it at some point, and it punishes states that I think have been very targeted in their mitigation efforts and tried to do what they had to,” she said.
Iowa, she said then, would look at areas where help was needed, citing business aid, mental health and broadband as examples.
“We still have small businesses that are hurting, people who have lost their jobs or lost their businesses and invested their whole lives in it,” she said.
Reynolds also joined 21 other governors in signing a letter opposing the US bailout funding formula. They said the formula, which provided aid to states based on unemployment rates, punished states that kept businesses open during the pandemic.
This week, Reynolds announced the recipients of $20 million in funding to nonprofits through federal law. Part of the $26.6 million in grants announced earlier in the week to help businesses deal with child care shortages also came from the US bailout.
“We have received tremendous interest in this unique grant program, which highlights the passion of Iowa nonprofits and their positive impact on our state,” Reynolds said in a press release announcing the grants. non-profit. “These grants will invest in innovative projects that will put Iowa nonprofits in a better position to serve those in need.”
Other funds made available with the money include $200 million for rural broadband, a $100 million fund to generate tourism and attract new residents, $30 million for grants to workforce innovation, $100 million to make schools safer, and $100 million to improve water quality.
Iowa Senate Majority Leader Zach Wahls said in May when announcing the child care subsidies that Reynolds was trying to take credit for the steps taken by Democrats.
“The truth is that President Biden and Congresswoman Axne are trying to solve a problem for which Kim Reynolds is responsible – Iowa’s worst child care crisis,” he said in a statement. “Iowa Senate Democrats have a plan that would cut costs and make child care more accessible. We’re just waiting for Reynolds and the Legislative Republicans in Iowa to work with us.”