Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



March 24, 2021

Sen. Needleman Votes to Give Legislature a Voice in How to Invest Billions of Dollars in Federal COVID-19 Aid for Connecticut

HARTFORD – State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) joined his Democratic colleagues in the state Senate in voting for a bill that will give the legislative branch of government a voice in how Connecticut will invest $2.6 billion in federal COVID-19 aid and also require Governor Ned Lamont to provide lawmakers with the details of how he has spent similar federal aid to date.

House Bill 6555, “AN ACT CONCERNING LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT AND APPROVAL OF COVID-19 RELIEF FUNDS,” passed the Senate today unanimously and now heads to Gov. Lamont for his signature.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was proposed by President Joe Biden and passed only with the votes of Democrats in Congress, brings a total of $6 billion in federal aid to Connecticut to be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • $2.6 billion for state government
  • $1.56 billion for cities, towns, and regional organizations
  • $1.1 billion for local school districts
  • $370 million for higher education
  • $300 million for childcare services
  • $240 million for rental assistance
  • $140 million for capital projects and workforce development
  • $90 million for heating and energy assistance
  • $50 million for mental health grants
  • $11 million for home-delivered meals

The Act prohibits states, cities and towns from using the money to reduce taxes or apply it toward pension debt.

“This aid is vital and much needed to support the countless Connecticut residents negatively impacted by the many restrictions forced by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sen. Needleman. “Making sure we have continued oversight on how the state will invest and distribute this aid is just as important. We need to make sure these funds go where they’re most needed.”

HB 6555 requires Gov. Lamont to give lawmakers a plan for investing the state portion of the new federal funds by April 26; the legislature’s Appropriations Committee then has until May 16 to create its own plan for the federal funding. The two plans will then be subject to final negotiations between legislative leaders and the executive branch.