Rep. Brett Guthrie says COVID relief bill is a ‘partisan wish list’
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - On Tuesday, 13 News was able to talk with Congressman Brett Guthrie about the latest version of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.
After passing in the Senate over the weekend, the House of Representatives received the stimulus package on Tuesday and will take procedural steps to set up final approval Wednesday morning, according to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office.
Congressman Brett Guthrie said this is merely a partisan bill filled with little funding for COVID-19 relief efforts and the rest is more of what he called a ‘wish list.’
“An example is there’s money to bail out private pension plans. There’s money to reimburse states for revenues, even though some states are having surpluses this year,” Congressman Guthrie said.
He is concerned about the amount of money allocated in the bill as well, saying there is not enough time to spend it, and it’s just a handout to constituencies that elected current President Joe Biden.
“It’s money that is not just created. It’s money, that is tax dollars, it’s debt that our children and grandchildren are going to pay for,” Congressman Guthrie said.
In his opinion, the Senate did make some positive changes to the relief bill. An issue that Rep. Guthrie is passionate about is providing more funding for hospitals that took a hit during the pandemic. Funding for this was previously allocated in the CARES Act.
While the House of Representatives initially did not allocate any new funding for the cause, the Senate did.
“They bailed out private pension, private pension plan pensions between employers and employees, but didn’t help hospitals after hospitals were affected by decisions made by government,” Congressman Guthrie said. “So I’m pleased to say that has made some changes, but it certainly hasn’t been to the level that we need to have a bipartisan COVID bill.”
While Congressman Guthrie said he supports the Child Tax portion of the bill saying, “I think that we need to, you know, help families that have young children, I think that’s important to do,” he thinks the $1,400 direct payments to Americans could be more targeted.
“I think that we should focus on people who have lost their job, lost their businesses, and there are people who’ve never lost a penny of income-- that will get these checks. So, I think, and I know, everybody enjoys getting $1400, but somebody’s got to pay it back.”
After discussing the stimulus bill, we asked Congressman Guthrie about vaccine distribution. Guthrie serves as the top Republican on the Health Subcommittee as part of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
“It’s just amazing that we’re where we are,” Congressman Guthrie said. “I know there are a lot of criticisms of President Trump on handling COVID, nobody gives him credit, which he should get, for this Operation Warp Speed.”
Guthrie said the United States is administering about two million doses of the vaccine every day.
“Kentucky is improving. We’re getting better at it. I mean, some states have been ahead of us, unfortunately, but the governor, the group in Frankfort are getting better at getting more people vaccinated,” Congressman Guthrie explained.
He said he hopes that enough people are vaccinated by the end of summer to safely get back to ‘normal,’ but it is up to state leadership to determine when it is time to lift restrictions.
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