Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R-Alabama) responded to criticism of her choice to use federal COVID-19 relief funds to build new prisons.

In a letter, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York) wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about the issue. “Directing funding meant to protect our citizens from a pandemic to fuel mass incarceration is, in direct contravention of the intended purposes of the ARP legislation and will particularly harm communities of color who are already disproportionately impacted by our over-incarceration and this public health crisis,” Nadler said.

Ivey responded to Nadler on Twitter: “I would suggest to the New York congressman, and for that matter the federal government, that they worry more about avoiding the pending government shutdown and running the country.”

On Monday, Ivey called a special session of the Alabama legislature to debate the state’s prison funding and announced her plan to use federal aid for the budget. Several GOP lawmakers have voiced their support for Ivey’s proposed use of federal money. Alabama State Senator Greg Reed (R) tweeted, “We are in a special session right now to protect the people of Alabama from a costly federal intervention, and I really couldn’t care less about the opinion of Washington liberals.”

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