Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., on Sunday blasted the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, calling it a “payoff to the liberal left” from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
In an interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” Barrasso said the package was supposed to be “about helping get the disease behind us,” and not a “bailout.”
“To call this COVID relief is really false advertising,” he said. “Only 9% of the money actually goes to defeating the virus. Only 1% of the money goes for vaccines. This is a Nancy Pelosi payoff to the liberal left. This is something she's been working on, and she's taking a victory lap.”
According to Barrasso, President Joe Biden “inherited a recovering economy.”
“Republicans want to make sure people get shots in the arms, kids get back to school, people get back to work, but we are not going to stand with the Democrats as they try to exploit a crisis to send lots of money to big cities and to blue states and to really failed pension plans,” he railed. “This is not supposed to be a bailout. It's supposed to be about helping get the disease behind us.”
Barrasso charged the formula used by Democrats to create the relief “was biased and unfair.”
“[It] focused at California, New York, Illinois,” he said. “It punished the states that opened earlier, and it rewarded the states that stayed closed the longest. This coronavirus relief bill was not supposed to be about $1,400 checks to illegal immigrants or $1,400 checks to felons who are behind bars. It wasn't supposed to be about block grants to sanctuary cities or money to schools that continue to stay closed.”
He warned “taxes are going to be next on the Democrats' agenda.”
Barrasso insisted the 2020 election vote was a “mandate to move to the middle,” and to that end, he wants the 60-vote rule to stay in place on specified legislation.
“We have a 50/50 Senate. That's what the American people sent to Washington with the vice president breaking the tie,” he said, noting “that ought to be a mandate to move to the middle.”
“We ought to do things that actually can get broad bipartisan support,” he said, using as an example an infrastructure bill that came out of his committee previously.
“That's the best way to get things done. If you get things that are one vote, and vice president breaking a tie, harder for America to buy into that thing,” he said. “The major pieces of legislation for our country historically have been done in a broad bipartisan way.”
“The question is, is it 50 votes or 51, or 60 — the current number is 60,” he said of the tally needed to pass legislation. “We have had this going on now for over a century, and the idea is to get bipartisan buy-in to bills. If there are parts that are very partisan, they ought to be left out. Focus on the areas on which we can agree.”
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