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State unclear on impact of COVID-19 clawback in debt ceiling deal

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Government, Health, Politics
The federal debt ceiling bill includes provisions to clawback unspent funding meant to help address the COVID-19 pandemic. (FILE PHOTO: Justin Hicks/IPB News)

The federal government is taking back billions of unspent dollars meant to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the debt ceiling deal.

And state leaders are still unsure exactly how it will impact funding Indiana received – or was set to receive.

Cris Johnston, Indiana Office of Management and Budget director, said it’s still not clear exactly what money the federal government will be taking back. The bill only passed late Thursday night and states haven’t yet received guidance.

READ MORE: Senate sends debt ceiling legislation to President Biden’s desk with days to spare

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Still, Johnston said it’s likely the impact on Indiana won’t be enormous. And the clawback almost certainly won’t affect anything the state is currently doing.

The more likely impact will be on future spending, particularly at agencies like the Indiana Department of Health – money state and local governments were expecting to receive but now won’t, because of the debt ceiling bill’s clawback provisions. And Johnston said the state should have time to figure out alternative funding plans.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.