Without specifically mentioning his home state of Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Rick Scott appeared on Fox News on Monday to reiterate his call for state governors to return all the non-COVID-related stimulus money that was recently appropriated in the $1.9 trillion funding law.
“You ought to give it back,” said Sen. Scott to governors.
When pressed about the $5.4 billion budget deficit Florida faces as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that he “might be hard-pressed not to accept the money,” Scott said that states were already sent $500 million to cover their COVID costs and that there could be another trillion dollars in federal assistance that has not been spent by states.
“Look, if it’s not based on COVID response you know we ought to get the money back from all over the country,” added Scott. “So, I hope everybody. Every mayor, Every governor, says “money I don’t need to cover COVID. I’m going to give it back to the federal government.”
The Floridian could not reach Gov. DeSantis for comment.
Sen. Scott later released the following statement to follow up his remarks on Fox:
“America is $30 trillion in debt and Democrats in Washington are haphazardly throwing money to anyone and everyone with no care for what it means for our future. Anyone in state and local government who calls themselves a fiscal conservative should know that the funding in the Democrats’ massive spending bill is not free money.
This money belongs to the taxpayers and lawmakers have a responsibility to spend it wisely. State and local governments have already received roughly $400 billion in funding from previous COVID-19 bills and we know state and local budgets are faring far better than once anticipated.
They didn’t need additional funding from the so-called ‘American Rescue Plan Act’ and now we’re seeing many reveal plans to use it as a slush fund to complete their long-awaited pet projects.
Governors, mayors and state legislatures across the country need to stand up, say this is wrong and reject any federal funding from this package in excess of their federally-reimbursable COVID-19 related expenses.”