Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Beshear praises lawmakers for decisions on using federal aid
AP

Beshear praises lawmakers for decisions on using federal aid

  • Updated

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — State lawmakers are off to a “good start” in using a massive infusion of federal pandemic aid to create jobs and stimulate economic growth in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday.

The Republican-led legislature closed out its 30-day session on Tuesday by allocating more than $1 billion in federal money on several big-ticket items. Those items include school construction, water and sewer projects and broadband expansion.

The Democratic governor, who feuded with GOP lawmakers over efforts to rein in some of his executive authority, praised the legislature for its decisions on how to use the federal aid. He predicted the investments will create thousands of jobs in Kentucky.

“At a time when we want to make sure we sprint out of this pandemic, we get out of this recession, we want to use these dollars to create jobs and economic activity," he said. "And I think there was a lot of good work that came together to get a good start on that.”

The spending decisions reflected shared priorities between Beshear and Republican lawmakers. State government in Kentucky is expected to eventually receive about $2.4 billion from the pandemic aid package championed by President Joe Biden. That package was passed by congressional Democrats, including the state’s lone Democratic congressman, John Yarmuth.

Beshear said it was “too early to know” whether he would need to convene a special legislative session later this year to appropriate the remainder of the state's portion of federal aid, or whether it could be dealt with in the regular 2022 session.

But the work between his office and lawmakers to agree on the spending decisions made in recent days was “a real positive sign — one of the first times we've been able to work together that closely," the governor said at a news conference. "And I think it's going to be good for everybody.”

Lawmakers agreed to use $300 million of federal money to extend broadband service and $575 million of the federal aid to repay a federal loan that kept the state’s unemployment insurance program afloat. Both decisions reflected some of the governor's priorities.

Legislators also allocated $250 million in federal aid for water and wastewater projects across Kentucky. Beshear called that decision “transformational in providing clean drinking water to everybody.”

“This is a chance to modernize that infrastructure, to run water and sewer lines to industrial parks and other commercial activities, to homes where it's not there,” he said.

Beshear also praised the legislature for allotting about $200 million for new construction and renovations of schools and vocational schools.

As for the remainder of the federal assistance, the governor said he would still like to see a “relief portion” that would assist small businesses, pandemic-battered industries and individuals.

State officials are still awaiting federal guidance on how the aid can be used, which could open up other spending opportunities, he said.

Lawmakers on Tuesday also directed $140 million in state funds to support full-day kindergarten on the final day of their session.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Concerned about COVID-19?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — It was supposed to be a unifying weekend for a Republican Party at war with itself over former President Donald Trump’s divisive leadership. But Trump himself shattered two days of relative peace in his closing remarks to the GOP’s top donors when he insulted the party’s Senate leader and his wife.

  • Updated

WASHINGTON (AP) — For more than a half-century, the voice emerging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s monolithic, Beaux Arts-styled building near the White House was predictable: It was the embodiment of American business and, more specifically, a shared set of interests with the Republican Party.

  • Updated

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two big South Korean electric vehicle battery makers said Sunday they have settled a long-running trade dispute that will allow one company to move ahead with plans to manufacture batteries in Georgia. President Joe Biden called it “a win for American workers and the American auto industry.”

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News