DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said she rejected $95 million in federal money for coronavirus testing in schools because she didn’t think there was a need for the funding.
The Republican governor announced her decision on a Thursday night Fox News show and criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for offering the money aimed at expanding testing.
“I think he thinks that COVID just started,” Reynolds said on the show, which was televised from a forum with other Republican governors in Florida. ”I just returned $95 million because they sent an additional $95 million to the state of Iowa to get our kids back in the classroom by doing surveillance testing. And I said we’ve been in the classroom since August. Here’s your $95 million back.”
Kelly Garcia, director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, confirmed later that Iowa had turned down the funding.
The Republican Party of Iowa praised Reynolds’ decision, saying the Biden administration had failed in its efforts to return students to in-person classrooms but, “Governor Reynolds fought back against the teachers unions and succeeded.”
Democratic state Auditor Rob Sand questioned the rejection of federal money that would have assisted testing at schools and funded Iowa jobs.
“It’s time the governor stopped playing politics with Iowans’ health and tax dollars,” Sand said in a statement “Remember, this money isn’t free. Iowans will continue to pay taxes, while other states benefit from them.”