Delegation Secures Key Change In Treasury’s Process
To Distribute COVID Relief Funds To Vermont’s Local Communities
July 30, 2021. Vermont’s Congressional Delegation, Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch, announced Friday that the U.S. Treasury Department will release funding secured through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) designated for communities in Vermont’s 14 counties. The funding had been held back due to the Treasury Department’s previous designation that Vermont’s counties were units of general local government, as is the case in most other states.
Since the March passage of the ARPA, the delegation has been working with the Treasury Department to correct this designation to more accurately reflect the reality in Vermont. In guidance to be released Friday, the Treasury Department has revised its original designation, clearing the way for more than $120 million to be distributed to municipalities across Vermont.
In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: “We are grateful for the Treasury Department for working with us to resolve this issue. Together, we will always fight to ensure that Vermont – and all small states – receive their fair share of federal support. With this updated rule from the Treasury Department, $120 million intended for the state will now finally flow to towns throughout Vermont, and these resources will help meet needs for Vermonters across the state.”
Governor Phil Scott said: “I want to thank our congressional delegation for their advocacy, and the Biden Administration for their willingness to listen and adapt to Vermont’s unique county structure. This revision in guidance will allow our municipalities to take full advantage of the ARPA funding they are entitled to, so they can begin making critical investments to address their needs, helping us recover from the pandemic stronger.”
The congressional delegation, in partnership with the State of Vermont, has been working with the Treasury Department to find a path forward to ensure this critical money gets out the door to help Vermonters. In a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing in June, Leahy, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, pressed Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to review and revise the guidance.
In total, the State of Vermont, counties, cities and towns throughout Vermont received $1.25 billion in funding through the ARPA’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.