WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) today introduced the Remove Impediments for a Successful Economic Recovery (RISER) Act to extend the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) deadline to December 31, 2022.
Established within the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the CRF provides funding for states and local governments to combat COVID-19 and the economic impact of the pandemic. Kansas received $1.25 billion from the CRF, but under current law will lose any funding not utilized by December 31, 2020. The current deadline puts several long-term economic development plans, including critical broadband and telemedicine projects, at risk of losing funding if they are not completed by the end of the year.
“States and local governments know what is best for their communities and where and when to spend federal coronavirus relief,” said Sen. Moran. “Extending the deadline for CRF payments dedicated to qualified economic development projects will allow Kansas and other states to strategically target areas of need over a longer period of time, making certain our taxpayer dollars are making the greatest impact to help our communities during this pandemic.”
“I’m proud to introduce the RISER Act today in order to extend the deadline for Coronavirus Relief Funding,” said Sen. Roberts. “By providing an extension to CRF payments, we are ensuring local governments throughout Kansas and the country are able to utilize this critical funding in the best, most effective way possible and within a more reasonable timeframe.”
“While we are optimistic that the COVID-19 pandemic will recede in the coming months, we know that America’s recovery will take much longer. That is why we support Sen. Moran’s RISER (“Remove Impediments for a Successful Economic Recovery Act’’) Act to extend the timeline for states to use CARES Act funding, allowing them to expand access in a technology neutral manner to broadband and telemedicine services in unserved communities, ensuring that states have the time to identify and focus funding on projects and areas most in need,” – NCTA, The Internet & Television Association.
“Our members have gone above and beyond to help their families, friends and neighbors during the pandemic by partnering with schools to connect students at home, keeping customers online regardless of their ability to pay, and connecting an unprecedented number of homes with high-speed broadband,” said Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association. “The swift action by Congress to pass the CARES Act earlier this year enabled states to fund additional deployment, but the provision indicating that funds expire at the end of the year complicates planning for and completion of these projects. Senator Moran’s RISER Act, which extends the funding deadline to the end of 2022, will help make sure this important job of connecting Americans when they need it most gets done right. NTCA endorses this legislation and urges its quick passage.”
“As our economy begins to rebuild from the Coronavirus pandemic, broadband will continue to play a vital role in our nation’s recovery,” said Jonathan Spalter, President and CEO of USTelecom. “We must complete these valuable projects, especially in this time when connectivity has never been more essential and the value of broadband networks has never been more clear. Extending this deadline will fulfill the promise of the CARES Act and ensure invaluable broadband connections reach the many Americans who remain on the wrong side of the digital divide.”