WASHINGTON – The National Association of Counties (NACo) today applauded the U.S. Department of the Treasury for creating a new office dedicated to the distribution of COVID-19 relief to state and local governments. Leading the new office will be new Chief of Recovery Officer Jacob Leinbenluft and Gene Sperling, the COVID Rescue Plan Czar at the White House.
On March 18, NACo sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury for the American Rescue Plan Act’s $362 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund), which contains feedback and recommendations for the successful implementation and execution of the Recovery Fund from a member-wide survey. One of NACo’s key recommendations was the creation of a centralized office for Recovery Fund best practices and stakeholder engagement.
NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase said:
We applaud the U.S. Treasury for creating an office dedicated to distributing the funds under the American Rescue Plan, the largest direct investment in America’s counties in our nation’s history. With the critical aid in this bill, we will strengthen our communities by investing in small businesses and nonprofits, vaccine distribution, public health and safety, human services, and much-needed infrastructure, including broadband.
“NACo has advocated throughout the policymaking process for this key part of the Recovery Fund implementation: access to clear, practical federal guidance and real time feedback on county investment priorities and strategies. County leaders are prudent stewards of public dollars and share the administration’s goals for successful implementation of the Recovery Fund. With this new Treasury office, we are in a better position to ensure enhanced public accountability and appropriate local decision making with these much-needed federal resources.
“Counties appreciate the opportunity to engage with the Treasury as we pursue our shared goals to rebuild our economy and protect the health and well-being of our residents and communities.
"The unprecedented challenges we have faced demand an unprecedented level of response and cooperation with our federal, state and local partners. Only by working together will we beat COVID-19, achieve economic recovery and restore our communities. Today’s announcement by Treasury recognizes that counties are on the front lines of this pandemic and are central partners in the path toward a more resilient post-coronavirus America.”
The American Rescue Plan, which NACo helped to develop and strongly advocated to pass, includes $65.1 billion in direct, flexible aid for every county, parish and borough in America. Visit NACo’s COVID-19 recovery clearinghouse here.Standard