Biden plan to distribute virus aid irks some governors

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US President Joe Biden speaks about lives lost to Covid after death toll passed 500,000, in the Cross Hall of the White House in Washington, DC, February 22, 2021. – President Joe Biden called the milestone of more than 500,000 US deaths from Covid-19 “heartbreaking” on Monday and urged the country to unite against the pandemic.
“I know what it’s like,” an emotional Biden said in a national television address, referring to his own long history of family tragedies. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Biden administration’s plan to funnel more coronavirus aid into states with greater unemployment has irked governors with lower jobless rates, even though many have economies that weren’t hit as hard by the pandemic.

The $1.9 trillion relief bill working its way through Congress allocates extra money to larger, mostly Democratic-run states with higher unemployment rates.

Rural Midwestern and Southern states that tend to have Republican governors and better jobless numbers would benefit less.

The White House is defending its distribution plan.

It says the plan targets money to areas where it will have the biggest impact.

“You’re penalizing people who have done the right thing,” said Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican whose state has reported the nation’s lowest unemployment rate over the last several months. “That’s not the way you want to approach any sort of government program.”

The White House defended President Joe Biden’s distribution plan, saying it targets money to areas where it will have the biggest impact.

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