According to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, to pay for his coronavirus aid package, the president Joe biden you must spend an average of $ 3.7 billion every day for the rest of this year. That’s $ 43,000 every second of every day until midnight 2022 rings.
Josh Boak of the Associated Press reports that the president enacted the aid package yesterday without a comprehensive plan to distribute all the funds, which will be a central focus of the administration in the coming weeks.
“It’s taxpayer money that you want to distribute fairly, but you also want to distribute quickly,” said Jack Smalligan, senior policy researcher at the Urban Institute and a former White House budget official.
Some expenses, like cash transfers, can happen quickly. The Biden administration has already announced that it will send the $ 1,400 in direct checks, a total of about $ 400 billion, starting this weekend. The administration will also continue to provide improved unemployment assistance for the 20.1 million Americans who are receiving some form of benefits. Both direct checks and unemployment assistance were part of previous Covid aid packages that totaled roughly $ 4 trillion, meaning the government has systems in place to distribute the money.
But other elements are more complicated. There is $ 130 billion for K-12 schools to hire teachers, upgrade ventilation systems, and make other improvements so in-person classes can resume. Colleges are eligible for $ 40 billion. Separately, $ 30 billion in housing assistance is available. And there is about $ 120 billion for the distribution of vaccines and coronavirus tests, among other public health expenditures. The White House said the billions for schools “would begin” to be distributed this month by the Department of Education.
But some funds can take time to distribute, as government agencies at their normal expenses can take six to nine months to release funds through competitive grants or an application process. Schools and state and local governments could also spread spending long after most of the country has been vaccinated.
“A fair process can inherently take longer due to checks and balances and internal reviews,” Smalligan said. “Getting the money flowing quickly and then having the state and local government spend the money over the next two fiscal years is probably responsible on their part. You want to hire a teacher not for a month but for years. “
The Treasury Department is planning how to best distribute approximately $ 350 billion in state and local aid. But he has not finalized a plan and is consulting with governors, mayors and other officials.
“Our Treasury team will work to get this help out in the quickest way possible, and the one that produces the greatest impact,” said the Secretary of the Treasury. Janet yellen he said in a Tuesday speech to the National League of Cities. “To do that, we will need your opinion and advice.”