North Dakota is set to receive just over $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Joe Biden this Thursday. The rescue plan passed Congress along party lines. North Dakota’s three Republican Congressional delegation – John Hoeven, Kevin Cramer, and Kelly Armstrong – voted against the relief that will go to families, schools, businesses, cities, and the state. Don’t let them attempt credit when that investment in North Dakota begins to be utilized.

Preliminary estimates provided by the North Dakota Legislative Council indicate NoDak will receive $1.362 billion available to state and local governments. You can view the official Council document at the bottom of this column. Legislative leaders are already eager to spend this money while the Legislature is in session. I have no doubt city councils and county commissioners are just as eager.

According to analysis, cities in North Dakota will receive roughly $91.3 million. Counties in North Dakota will receive around $147.8 million. The Congressional Research Service estimates that North Dakota direct payments to individuals will be around $931 million and benefit more than 350,000 households. 

Additionally, there are investments in schools, tribal nations, small businesses, child care tax credits, help for veterans, vaccine distribution, testing and contact tracing, food security assistance, home and rental assistance, and dollars to help lower health insurance costs.

This is a rescue plan to combat the economic crisis brought on by the health crisis of the last year. The benefits in North Dakota will be large. Don’t forget, with these investments come good-paying jobs and a ripple effect to our economy.

North Dakota Republicans are already planning to use this influx of federal dollars to make up for the lack of state dollars they promised for infrastructure investments. Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner told Prairie Public Radio, “The ‘Prairie Dog’ didn’t come in from the Oil Patch this time, but he flew in from Washington.” Recall, the prairie dog bill was a promise to communities the state would invest in infrastructure in 2019. The money wasn’t there, until now thanks to the Rescue Plan.

Everyone – even those who constantly bemoan the federal government – seems to be welcoming these rescue dollars. That is, except for the delegation who refused to support the bill. The reality is this was nothing more than pure partisan politics for Hoeven, Cramer, and Armstrong. Sadly, they simply said “no” to this investment in North Dakota families, businesses, and communities. We’ll watch to see if they attempt to pat themselves on the back when projects are completed and new jobs are created from this plan.

Tyler Axness
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