Beshear: Republicans won’t name members to discuss essential worker bonus plan

Republicans may put together own plan on spending $400 million in federal money

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Gov. Andy Beshear said during his Monday briefing Republicans are not at this point backing his plan to use $400 million of federal funds next year to give bonuses to front-line essential workers employed throughout two full years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Beshear’s plan, certain workers would be eligible for a bonus if they had worked from the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 to March of next year, with the state using $400 million from the next $1 billion of American Rescue Plan Act funding due to be received in May (click here).

Exactly who would be deemed an essential workers eligible for the bonus is not clear, as Beshear not only mentioned front-line health care workers, but grocery store employees, emergency medical technicians, police, firefighters, educators and certain factory workers.

The governor said Monday the Democratic caucus last week sent him names of lawmakers to work on a committee to hash out details, but Republicans refused.

Beshear suggested naming a bi-partisan committee of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers to work with the administration to hammer out a plan that could be presented to the Legislature, which Republicans control with a super-majority, when it convenes in January.

The goal would be to get quick passage to get the checks in the hands of workers and to encourage workers to continue to stay in their jobs or to take positions and remain there for an extended period.

Some political observers say the GOP, with its control of the Legislature, may go on its own and approve a plan to prevent the governor from being able to take any credit as attention begins to focus even more on the 2023 elections.

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