JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A week of back-and-forth about spending authority for the federal CARE Act money is seemingly coming to an end.
“Mississippians don’t need to see their political leaders fighting in the middle of this crisis," said Governor Tate Reeves.
Gov. Reeves invited Lt. Governor Hosemann and Speaker Philip Gunn to his home Wednesday where they found some common ground.
“The conclusion that we have reached is that the Legislature will appropriate dollars in conjunction with the governor administrating those dollars," said Speaker Philip Gunn.
So, what about that bill passed last Friday where the Legislature was asserting spending authority for the $1.25 billion in federal CARES Act dollars?
“At his request, we are going to hold the bill we currently have before the Mississippi Legislature," explained Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann. "I’m going to ask my senators to hold that bill for a few days, as the Governor said. And the purpose of that is for us to reach an agreement on going forward on the plan. While we may be holding that bill, we’re not holding our work.”
Reeves says he’ll be closely involved in the process and for now thinks this is the best path forward. He added he never cared who had control but rather the speed of getting the money out.
“What I say to the people back home is given where we find ourselves today, Thursday, I have made a determination that the best way, at this time, to get money to the people who need it is to make the decision that I made yesterday to reach out to the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker and find a solution," noted Reeves.
Reeves admits his concerns are still there about the process, but his focus is on getting the money out quickly while staying within the guidelines from the Department of Treasury.
“We need to put all petty politics aside and do what’s best for the people of our state," added Reeves. "And in our conversations yesterday, I believe the two of them do as well. Now, obviously the legislative process is a challenging one. We’re going to have to navigate our way through it.”
Some of the details are still being hammered out. Lawmakers returned Thursday to start creating a small business relief package.