Sen. Moran Secures Commitment from U.S. Treasury Regarding Relief for February’s Inflated Natural Gas Bills
Jun 25 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) secured a clarification from the U.S. Treasury that Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds may be used as grants for households, small businesses and nonprofits with inflated utility bills from the natural gas shortage during Winter Storm Uri in February.
“Many Kansans are concerned about the steep increase in their gas bill following the spike in natural gas prices earlier this year,” said Sen. Moran. “I’m pleased that the U.S. Treasury has now provided increased flexibility to state and local governments regarding the permissible use of federal relief funds after I raised this issue to them in March. As Kansans continue to deal with the economic impacts of the pandemic, this decision will alleviate a lot of consternation for those states impacted by the February extreme weather that caused elevated natural gas prices.”
Click HERE to Watch Sen. Moran’s Full Remarks
In March, Sen. Moran questioned Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen regarding the flexible use of federal funds provided to state and local governments to address the distressing circumstances many Kansans faced as a result of the extreme weather in February. During this hearing, Sen. Moran urged the U.S. Treasury to develop guidance that permitted the most recent COVID-19 relief legislation to be used to alleviate the burden placed on Kansas households and businesses by the costly utility bills.
This week, the U.S Treasury permitted increased flexibility for federal funds to be used for utility costs by issuing the following guidance regarding eligible uses:
What types of services are eligible as responses to the negative economic impacts of the pandemic?
Eligible uses in this category include assistance to households; small businesses and nonprofits; and aid to impacted industries. Assistance to households includes, but is not limited to: food assistance; rent, mortgage, or utility assistance; counseling and legal aid to prevent eviction or homelessness; cash assistance; emergency assistance for burials, home repairs, weatherization, or other needs; internet access or digital literacy assistance; or job training to address negative economic or public health impacts experienced due to a worker’s occupation or level of training.
Assistance to small business and non-profits includes, but is not limited to:
- Loans or grants to mitigate financial hardship such as declines in revenues or impacts of periods of business closure, for example by supporting payroll and benefits costs, costs to retain employees, mortgage, rent, or utilities costs, and other operating costs;
- Loans, grants, or in-kind assistance to implement COVID-19 prevention or mitigation tactics, such as physical plant changes to enable social distancing, enhanced cleaning efforts, barriers or partitions, or COVID-19 vaccination, testing, or contact tracing programs; and Technical assistance, counseling, or other services to assist with business planning needs
- Technical assistance, counseling, or other services to assist with business planning needs
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