Wolf continues push for $2,000 direct payments to Pennsylvanians even as state lawmakers lack consensus

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Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf proposed using $500 million from the American Rescue Plan to give direct payments of up to $2,000 to families in February and wants it to be part of the budget, which is set to be finished on June 30, 2022. Democratic leaders in the Senate and House have introduced legislation, Senate Bill 1619 and House Bill 2531, to support Gov. Wolf’s PA Opportunity Program.

Governor Wolf’s cabinet member, Department of Human Services Acting Secretary, Meg Snead said:

The cost of everything from gas to groceries is a little higher right now than it was just a few weeks ago and for Pennsylvanians living paycheck to paycheck even a small increase in expenses can mean painful decisions like paying for food or rent. In the Department of Human Services, I see the disadvantages in communities across Pennsylvania and these $2,000 checks would make a great impact as prices around us soar.

Republican lawmakers in the state have been reluctant to fund the proposal, discussing plans to put the money toward other projects and believe that Wolf's initiative will just add fuel to the inflation crisis. Jason Gottesman, a spokesperson for the republican caucus said:

This is the same bad policy coming from another Democrat to artificially prop up the economy that's led to the same inflation problems that we've seen across the country.

Pennsylvania is sitting on around $2 billion of American Rescue Plan funding that hasn’t been committed. Any American Rescue Plan money not used by the end of 2024 will need to be returned to the federal government.

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