Marsha Blackburn calls coronavirus stimulus bill an ‘insult to injury’ to millions of unemployed Americans
“I think it is fair to say that President Trump fully understands the best economic stimulus is a job, and there is a lot in this bill that gets in the way of economic recovery,” Blackburn told “America’s Newsroom.”
Trump blasted the bill on Tuesday night and called for Congress to remove pork from the stimulus and increase direct payments to $2,000 for Americans. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who also voted against it, called for Trump to veto it, although he opposed Trump’s call for higher direct payments.
“The bill is an insult to injury for millions of Americans who are still out of work and still need relief,” Blackburn said. “And the president is right about this. The priorities are wrong, and the Democrats’ priority is power and control. It is not about helping people, which is what we have tried to do for months.”
Blackburn, one of six Republican senators to vote against the stimulus, called for “targeted relief” in the coronavirus bill.
“If this was about getting more money to individuals who are unemployed, the Democrats could have voted for this when we had it on the floor in July or September or twice in October, in November. They voted no. It would have made a difference,” she said.
The relief package provides a federal unemployment boost for millions of out-of-work Americans and would send a second $600 stimulus check to most individuals, including children. It was passed as part of a $2.3 trillion-catchall package, which will fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year and addresses a spate of legislation on taxes, energy, education and health care.
But the mammoth 5,593-page bill – part of an omnibus appropriations package that wraps 12 spending measures into one – also contains items not directly related to government funding or pandemic relief efforts, such as establishing two new branches of the Smithsonian museum near the National Mall.
Congress overwhelmingly passed the bill, which became available to lawmakers six hours before they were expected to vote on it. The process drew criticism from lawmakers ranging from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
Blackburn argued the coronavirus bill does not prioritize unemployed Americans and is rather used for an agenda to enforce climate change policies and other measures.
“What they have come at us with is a climate change-embracing, illegal immigration-empowering, lobbyist wish list, which is their pathway to socialism, which they think is going to be their time to permanently change this country,” Blackburn said.