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Murphy Calls on Governor DeSantis to Release Delayed Emergency Funds to Hard-Working Florida Families

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Washington, September 13, 2022 | comments

WASHINGTON—U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., sent a letter today to Governor Ron DeSantis requesting information about the delayed allocation of emergency relief funding provided in the American Rescue Plan Act for low-income families with children. The Governor’s administration has only recently begun to distribute some of the $35 million Florida received from the bill, more than one year after the bill was passed by Congress and signed into law. As the deadline for distribution of the funds is at the end of September, Murphy is requesting information about how the funds will be delivered in that time frame, as well as an explanation for the delay.

The emergency relief funds are administered through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund (PEAF) to provide direct cash aid to low-income families.

“Your administration received TANF PEAF funds at a time when low-income Florida families were reeling from a year of crisis and economic turmoil, and were asking for help,” wrote Murphy. “While Congress answered that call for help, your administration did not distribute these much-needed funds to struggling Florida families for more than a year. Your administration has only recently announced a one-time TANF payment of $450 for nearly 59,000 Florida families, without noting that the payment was only possible because of the $35 million Florida received under ARPA, legislation which you have vocally opposed.”

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

The Honorable Ron DeSantis
Governor of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Dear Governor DeSantis: 

As you are aware, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law on March 11, 2021. In passing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund (PEAF) as part of ARPA, congressional intent was to provide immediate relief to low-income families with children during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Over a year ago, in June 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services allocated nearly $1 billion in PEAF funding to the states for distribution to eligible families, including $35 million for Florida. 

I write to you not only as a Member of the Florida congressional delegation, but as a Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the TANF Program. These funds derive from the TANF PEAF, which our Committee included in ARPA. Your administration received TANF PEAF funds at a time when low-income Florida families were reeling from a year of crisis and economic turmoil, and were asking for help. While Congress answered that call for help, your administration did not distribute these much-needed funds to struggling Florida families for more than a year. Your administration has only recently announced a one-time TANF payment of $450 for nearly 59,000 Florida families, without noting that the payment was only possible because of the $35 million Florida received under ARPA, legislation which you have vocally opposed. 

In light of the foregoing, I request that you provide the answers to the following questions: 

  1. Why did your administration wait until July 2022—over one year—to start distributing emergency PEAF funds to hard-working low-income families?
  2.  How do you plan to ensure that all funds are distributed to Florida families by the expenditure deadline of September 30, 2022?
  3.  Why are you claiming credit for providing these funds, when they are federal funds made available by an Act of Congress you oppose? 


Sincerely,


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