GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Colorado Mountain College’s (CMC) announcement that they plan to pass through $1.6 million in Covid-19 federal stimulus money to students, businesses and residents — some of it for things unrelated to the virus — is one example of why Colorado Congressman Ken Buck voted no on the package, the Windsor Republican told Complete Colorado.
“There are no restrictions from the federal government on how to spend the money,” Buck said by phone Wednesday afternoon. “This has nothing to do with the coronavirus. If the money had been used for small businesses that were put out of business, that’s one thing. Or workers who were left unemployed, that is something we need to do to help people. But the idea that a college gets money and months later is using that money for unrelated reasons is a waste of money. Why should someone in Greeley pay for something for someone in Vail?”
Buck said the money should be going to students who had to drop out of school for reasons like they contracted coronavirus or had to care for a sick family member.
“Those things would have a direct relationship,” Buck said.
- Donating all available personal protective equipment to local hospitals and clinics.
- Offer free tuition for summer classes for select students, which include in-district residents, in-state students who were enrolled in classes for Spring 2020 and local employees displaced by coronavirus,
- Making tutoring services available to help local parents with home schooling.
- Expanding eligibility and/or contributing to the school’s “No Barriers Fund,” “President’s Scholarships,” and “Fund Suenos.”
- Making CMC facilities available for needs related to the coronavirus.
- Distributing donated laptops to students.
- Providing internet service to students and families without broadband access.
- Offering free business consulting and training for local businesses affected by coronavirus.
“The CMC Board of Trustees approved the plan to pass along the estimated $1.6 million Colorado Mountain College will receive in federal stimulus dollars as well as internal savings from hiring freezes, elimination of all travel, canceled commencement ceremonies, reductions in energy usage, and (other) revenues,” the news release reads.
Buck said Congress did this so quickly, he could not in good faith vote for it, fearing the same may be coming next week when they look at possibly approving more stimulus money.
“We didn’t even have a vote on this in the House,” he said referring to the request for both a recorded voice vote on the floor and a request for a quorum call. “We were just told there were enough people present. It is unbelievable how we are doing business right now.”
Buck wouldn’t commit to his vote on the proposed package until he read it, but added he’s not convinced this round will be much different than the last.
“The president has asked for another $150 billion,” Buck said. “But Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi doesn’t think it’s enough; she wants $500 billion. A half trillion in additional funding. I always read things first, but I don’t think we’re intending to have a vote on this either.”