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Biden Admin Threatens to Recoup COVID-19 Funding From Arizona Over Anti-Mask Mandate Rules

The Biden administration issued a letter to Arizona threatening to take back COVID-19 relief funds sent to the state, saying Arizona’s provisions discourages schools from mandating masks. In a letter (pdf) sent Jan. 14, the Treasury Department warned Arizona state that it has 60 days to remove or redesign the anti-mask-mandate provisions the Biden administration deems “inconsistent with the purpose and requirements” of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program. Failure to do so “may result in Treasury initiating an action to recoup SLFRF funds used in violation of the eligible uses,” and the department “may also withhold funds from the State of Arizona’s second tranche installment of SLFRF funds.” The Treasury Department takes issue with two state programs. The first is Arizona’s Education Plus-Up Grant Program, which provides $163 million in funding to schools. However, districts that require masks are not eligible for the grant funds. The second …

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