RICHMOND, Va. – Lawmakers in Richmond are split on how to spend billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief money.
Virginia is getting $4.3 billion dollars in money from the American Rescue Plan.
Since Democrats lead the House and the Senate, Republicans like Sen. Bill Stanley, of Franklin County, say they are feeling left out of the process.
“These are small smatterings of priority money that the Democrats have put out, and we’re not solving any problems,” Stanley said.
Democratic Sen. John Edwards says his Republican colleagues will get a say but says most of the money has already been allocated to several statewide programs.
“With a lot of things we’re doing, that are in good government, as well as spending the money for the benefit of state and local governments for individuals and businesses,” Edwards said.
Currently, legislators are expecting a little under a billion dollars in surplus to be spent down the line for more issues related to pandemic recovery.
“Right now, this is funding that was approved in March by Congress, so it’s not new funding is and is, that is funding the three important to economy of Virginia,” Edwards said.
But Republicans would like to see that money be allocated before the session is up.
“They’ve not included Republicans, they’ve not included citizens, they’ve not included regions or local governments, they’ve just decided that they’re going to write down a wish list and they’re going to throw money at it,” Stanley said.
Lawmakers are expected to pick back up on that work here at the capitol Tuesday.
They could be here for at least two weeks as they continue to allocate money from the American Rescue Plan.