When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi more than tripled the spending President Donald Trump asked for to fight the coronavirus, some Republicans put their feet down, along with their thumbs.
“The president asked for $2.5 billion. I would have supported that,” Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado said March 6 during an appearance on the Fox News show “The Ingraham Angle.”
Buck laid the blame for the extra spending at the door of Pelosi.
“The speaker decided to add all sorts of Christmas-tree ornaments to this bill. It was unnecessary. It was too much money,” he told guest host Tammy Bruce.
Buck and fellow Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona were the only two members of the House to oppose the bill.
A similar package passed in the Senate had one dissenting vote, that of Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Paul tweeted out his objections to the bill:
Earlier today I said that while I support an all-hands-on-deck response to the coronavirus we should cut out waste and take money from less urgent spending like what we waste overseas to put into that response effort. We have to start setting our own priorities. pic.twitter.com/6YuUwqK4Qg
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 5, 2020
Buck’s office told Fox News that Buck disliked the $1.25 billion set aside in the bill for funding public health responses in other nations. Buck also opposed the inclusion of $500 million to expand Medicare’s telehealth services.
Moreover, the congressman voiced concerns about a plan that calls for stockpiling masks and other medial supplies without a distribution plan attached to ensure they reach front-line medical professionals and do not end up stacked in warehouses.
During his on-air appearance, Buck decried the political blame game in which Trump has been attacked by Democrats over the outbreak of a virus that has impacted nations around the world.
“I work on Capitol Hill and I see politics every day,” Buck said. “And unfortunately, I see people that try to make political gain out of things that they should not try to make political gain out of.
“And to try to lay this issue, which starts in China, comes the United States and is being handled as well as we could possibly hope — to try to lay this at the president’s feet as unfair,” he said.
“And I think most people have seen three years of unfair treatment by the Democrats of this president.”
Biggs, for his part, issued a statement explaining his opposition to the final proposal.
“In true Washington, D.C. fashion, congressional appropriators turned the president’s reasonable $2.5 billion request into a bloated $8.3 billion package,” he said.
“By passing this larded-up bill, Congress again fails to wisely appropriate taxpayer dollars. I would have supported the president’s request for $2.5 billion, knowing that, if we spent all the funds, Congress could have provided additional funding.”
“Throwing money at a potentially serious issue does not alleviate the American people’s concerns. Nor does politicizing the issue to score points for future elections. Congressional Republicans and Democrats should join the White House to calmly, wisely, and pro-actively communicate a unified response to their constituents. We must rise to the occasion and do what is best for this situation — as well as for future generations. Unfortunately, this bill fell short of that objective,” Biggs said.
“Basically, they throw a bunch of money at it to say, ‘We’ve taken care of it,” he added to KTAR.
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