/Lawmakers, not Gov Tate Reeves, will control $12 billion in federal coronavirus relief

Lawmakers, not Gov Tate Reeves, will control $12 billion in federal coronavirus relief

For weeks, Reeves insisted that he was the sole spender of federal stimulus funds. Lt. Governor. But Lt. Gov. Reeves threatened to veto it, and Capitol politicos scrambled for whip votes to override a possible veto. Just hours before Reeves deadline to sign the bill or veto it, the leaders announced that they would work together to approve the federal spending authority. They had discussed the matter Wednesday night at Governor’s Mansion. Gunn stated, “I want to express my gratitude to the governor for his cooperation in reaching an agreement on this matter. As you know, we have had some disagreements.” “The conclusion we have reached is that the Legislature will allocate those dollars while working with the governor to administer those dollars.” Hosemann and Gunn said that the funds would be available through the regular legislative appropriations process. Reeves insists that he doesn’t care about who spends the money, but he said on Thursday that he believed it was important to get federal funds to Mississippians in need. Reeves said that he could be more involved in leaders’ understanding. Reeves stated, “I have determined that the best way at this point to get money to people who need it is reach out to lieutenant governor speaker and find a solution.” Let me be clear, this is the best way forward for Mississippi right now. Reeves said, “If that changes so be it.” Reeves added: “I will continue to work with legislative leadership until we reach resolutions that are best suited for Mississippians. I believe that (Hosemann) and Gunn are well-intentioned, and want to do the right thing. Now it’s time for execution.” Reeves stated that legislators who attempted to control the funds could cause people’s deaths. He also accused legislators and other officials of “petty politics”. But Reeves changed his tone in recent news conferences. It became more likely that Reeves’ veto would not be overridden as the process progressed — something that has never happened to a Mississippi governor in the past two years. It would also mark the first time that a Republican governor’s vote has been overridden by a Republican majority Legislature in modern times. Hosemann stated that the Senate would hold the bill passed by lawmakers last week to allow the three leaders to work out details of how they will spend federal funds. This delay prevents any possible veto from Reeves or a veto-override vote in Congress. Negotiations will continue to determine whether to hire a third party administrator to disburse funds according to federal guidelines. Reeves believes such an administrator is necessary to make sure the state does not have to repay any funds. The federal funding is part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), which Congress passed in March. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic it provides funding for a variety of areas, including individuals, businesses, education entities, state public healthcare agencies, and other aspects of local and state governments. The rest of the week, lawmakers will be in session to discuss legislation that would provide financial assistance for unemployed Mississippians. They will return indefinitely to discuss the state’s regular budget and other state issues on May 18. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today.