Giessel, von Imhof ask Mnuchin about restrictions on CARES Act spending


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Two Alaska Senate Republican leaders have asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin what states can’t spend COVID-19 relief funds on after Gov. Mike Dunleavy said several of the items he vetoed from the state budget will be covered with the federal aid.

Senate President Cathy Giessel and Finance Committee co-chair Sen. Natasha von Imhof sent a letter to Mnuchin April 9 seeking clarifications as to what Dunleavy is not allowed to spend the more than $1.25 billion the State of Alaska is set to receive in COVID-19 relief funding from the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act passed by Congress in late March.

On April 7 Dunleavy announced more than $210 million worth of line-item vetoes to general fund spending across a suite of programs in the fiscal year 2021 state operating budget as collapsed oil prices again worsen the state’s structural annual deficit. He said in a press briefing, however, that federal CARES Act funds would be used to backfill the vast majority of the vetoed state money, including funds for programs Dunleavy has previously battled over with legislative leaders.