Covid Live Updates: Treasury Threatens To Hold Relief Funds From Arizona Over School Mask Fight

Arizona’s attorney general, Mark Brnovich, sent Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen a letter this week suggesting that the state was preparing to take its concerns to court amid what he believed was “blatant federal encroachment.”

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Omicron in retreat. Though the U.S. is still facing overwhelmed hospitals and nearly 2,000 Covid-19 deaths a day, encouraging signs are emerging. New cases are plummeting in several parts of the country, and recent studies of wastewater are helping scientists learn more about the Omicron variant.

Free tests and masks. The Biden administration’s new website allowing each U.S. household to order up to four free at-home tests is live. The White House also announced that it would make 400 million N95 masks available free of charge at health centers and pharmacies across the U.S.

Around the world. Austria is nearing the approval of a vaccine mandate for almost all adults, putting it on the path to be the first European country with such a wide-reaching mandate. In France, where a presidential election looms in April, officials set a timeline to lift restrictions over the next few weeks.

Staying safe. Worried about spreading Covid? Keep yourself and others safe by following some basic guidance on when to test, which mask to pick and how to use at-home virus tests. Here is what to do if you test positive for the coronavirus.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, argues that the Treasury Department is abusing its discretion to set conditions on how states spend the pandemic aid. It accuses the Treasury Department of acting “arbitrarily and capriciously” in determining that stopping the spread of the coronavirus is a condition for using the relief funds. And it says the Treasury Department does not have the expertise to make public health pronouncements.

Congress approved the state and local relief funds in March as part of the American Rescue Plan. Republicans opposed the law, but across the country they have been using the money to fill state coffers and to try to enact conservative policies.

The law gave the Treasury Department broad discretion to make rules governing how the money is spent and ensure that it is not being misused.

The Treasury Department on Friday defended its decision to restrict the use of the relief funds.

“Treasury believes the rule is correct and allowed by the statute and Constitution,” Dayanara Ramirez, a Treasury spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Several Republican-led states have already sued the Biden administration over a provision in the law that says states cannot use relief funds to subsidize tax cuts, claiming that the restriction is a violation of state sovereignty.

Mr. Ducey made a similar argument on Friday about attempts to stop his education programs.

“Unconstitutional overreach by one branch of government over another’s directive should not and cannot get in the way of that,” he said.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/21/us/politics/arizona-sues-covid-masks.html

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Governor Sues Feds Over Use of COVID-19 Relief Funds

Source:KAWA

Governor Sues Feds Over Use of COVID-19 Relief Funds

Biden threatens to STOP Arizona getting $170million in COVID relief funds if they keeping telling students not to wear masks in schools

Source:Daily Mail

Biden threatens to STOP Arizona getting $170million in COVID relief funds if they keeping telling students not to wear masks in schools

In first COVID-19 data report since Friday, Mass. reports 56,489 confirmed cases and 47 deaths

Source:The Boston Globe

In first COVID-19 data report since Friday, Mass. reports 56,489 confirmed cases and 47 deaths

Omicron updates: Here are the COVID-19 dashboards for school districts in the Austin area

Source:Yahoo! Sports

Omicron updates: Here are the COVID-19 dashboards for school districts in the Austin area