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“We want anything that the government does at this point to be timely and targeted, and really helping of folks in need. Too much in this legislation doesn’t reach this goal.”
That’s the message Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips delivered on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Wednesday morning. He went on the program to discuss Democrats’ $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which is packed with unnecessary spending for longstanding partisan priorities and would do nothing to end the pandemic or help the U.S. economy recover stronger.
“At this point, though, the government has appropriated $3.7 trillion to the pandemic. That’s more than anything ever in American history,” Phillips said. “And the kicker is this: $1 trillion of that money has still not been spent.
Phillips urged lawmakers to use the money that’s already been appropriated and put it toward increasing vaccinations, and getting relief to those who need it most, as Americans for Prosperity has emphasized in its Save Lives. Save Livelihoods campaign.
“Let’s get that money out the door and into individual hands rather than throwing another $1.9 trillion at it.”
Describing the bill as a “partisan, ideological wish list,” Phillips described ways in which the proposal focuses on the wrong priorities.
“So much of the money is not related to the pandemic at all. $350 billion of it goes to bail out big-spending cities and states that have been fiscally irresponsible for decades,” he said. “That is not fair and it is not helping with the pandemic.”
“There is money in this bill that also bails out insurance companies,” he continued. “That is not a good use of supposed pandemic relief that will simply go into the pockets of very wealthy insurance companies.”
Phillips then proposed an alternative approach to COVID relief: reopening the economy and getting people back to work through increased vaccinations.
Put the funding into expanding and rapidly getting shots in the arms of more Americans and let them live their lives. This pandemic has hurt people struggling socioeconomically. There is no question about that. So, simply dribbling out government subsidies is not the answer. … Let’s actually put the money where it can do the most good. Let’s get the vaccinations done. … Let’s get life back to normal again.
Phillips offered Florida as an example of a state that has done well walking the line between protecting its citizens and getting the economy reopened so people can make a living to support their families. “They have been as good or better as states with more draconian shutdowns … that have hurt a lot of people, especially at the margins.”
He then admonished lawmakers to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work of making sure any pandemic relief is timely, temporary, and targeted.
“We would urge the administration, the various government agencies, and, frankly, Congress, because they have oversight of this money, to get it out there,” he said. “In the meantime, let’s take steps that are targeted like a laser beam to letting folks get their normal life back.”
Tell lawmakers to oppose Congress’ $1.9 trillion spending proposal and reject bailouts and other bad deals.