WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) spoke on the Senate floor on Tuesday about the $1.9 trillion partisan spending package, the vast majority of which is unrelated to COVID-19, and discussed the need to deliver targeted COVID relief for West Virginians.
ON NEED TO DELIVER BIPARTISAN, TARGETED RELIEF: “Prior to this past round, Congress had been delivering much-needed relief…five times, since the beginning of this pandemic with bipartisan support. And this last month, my Republican colleagues and I put forth a targeted proposal presented to President Biden in the Oval Office…It wasn’t just a plan, but it was a plan to work together…Let’s be clear: we don’t disagree on the need for continued relief and resources, but it needs to be done in a targeted…and fiscally responsible way. Doing so allows us to effectively help the individuals, families, and businesses that need help the most, and there are many out there that do…while also considering what other impacts might be happening as we throw over a trillion extra dollars to unrelated COVID relief items. Many Americans will be getting checks, and while I agree with this, all of this would be better in a bill that we agreed on and negotiated.”
ON UNRELATED PET PROJECTS: “The president’s plan includes many policy provisions that have nothing to do with COVID relief – nothing. From an $86 billion bailout of union pensions, to over $100 million for a subway project in California, to funds provided to advance portions of President Biden’s recent climate executive order and environmental justice priorities. These are some of the items in here that have nothing to do with coronavirus relief. These extra “wish list items” make his plan more expensive and more partisan…Taking the opportunity to spend on favorite projects is not the intention of a COVID relief package…Instead, it force feeds funds and radical policy ideas into a framework under the guise of COVID relief.”
ON PARTISAN NATURE OF BILL: “My friends on the other side of the aisle have decided to do this in the most partisan way possible: reconciliation. Using this process risks wasting millions of dollars…We are creating slush funds in the name of COVID relief. Bottom line: this will be a fiscally wasteful product.”
ON UNSPENT FUNDS: “In December 2020…we passed the most recent recovery effort, which amounted to approximately $900 billion in relief funds. President Biden’s relief plan takes none of that into consideration…Here are some other areas where funds have yet to be spent: Of the $13 billion provided in our December plan for our agriculture community…$11.5 billion has yet to be obligated. Roughly $14 billion in appropriated funding for COVID testing has not yet been obligated and less than 10 percent of this plan are things like testing, vaccines, therapeutics. 21 states have actually experienced revenue growth compared to 2019-2020, yet this bill expends $350 billion to states. This money needs to be targeted. The parameters created in this category alone reward states that were more restrictive in their economic decisions, and heavily weighted toward highly populated states…that’s not my state. And, as of January 19, none of the $27 billion provided by the Department of Transportation in December…under the Consolidated Appropriations Act has been obligated, yet there’s more money for this as well.”
ON UNSPENT MONEY TO REOPEN SCHOOLS: “Congress last year appropriated $68 billion for K-12 schools. But of this amount, only $5 billion has been spent so far. And according to the Congressional Budget Office, of the almost $129 billion for K-12 schools included in this Biden COVID relief plan, only $6.4 billion of that is planned to be distributed through September of this year. The remaining $122 billion will not go to schools until the fiscal years 2022 through 2028…This cannot possibly qualify as ‘emergency’ spending.”
ON HER POSITION ON THE $1.9 TRILLION BILL: “I’m in opposition to the bill, in case you couldn’t tell.”