White House undercuts Republican request to redirect COVID-19 relief funds to infrastructure

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The White House is casting doubt on Republican calls to redirect unspent COVID-19 funds to pay for some of President Joe Biden’s $1.7 trillion-plus infrastructure package.

There are not “hundreds of billions of dollars” in unused federal COVID-19 dollars that could be shifted, according to White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

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“As of the end of March, about 95% of the $3 trillion in pre-Rescue Plan COVID relief funding has either been obligated or is for PPP, unemployment insurance, or nutrition assistance, where the money is going out as planned to specific businesses and people,” she told reporters Wednesday during her first briefing from behind the podium. PPP stands for the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal loan program helping small businesses retain their employees.

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