Cassidy voices displeasure with $1.9T COVID bill
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, expressed disappointment at the recently passed $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill at a press conference on Thursday. Cassidy called the passage “highly partisan” and a sharp turn from the five bi-partisan bills passed during former President Donald Trump’s time in office.
“We could’ve done a sixth,” he said. “If we would’ve targeted those impacted by the pandemic.”
Less than 9 percent of the recently passed legislation will actually go to COVID relief, he said. Rather, the bill is “just a vehicle to take across $1.5 trillion dollars worth of liberal priorities.”
Cassidy said priorities include an $86 billion dollar bailout to a pension fund, $470 million for arts and music and $100 billion for climate and environmental justice. The allocations “might be good,” he said, “but it had nothing to do with the pandemic.”
He added that a liberal economist said the passage may ignite inflation which will eat up the savings of middle class and working families.
Earlier this year, Republicans offered a $600 billion counter offer after Democrats proposed the $1.9 trillion package. Cassidy said he would have liked to have seen certain elements of their counter included in the approved plan like supporting private schools in the fight against COVID-19 and leaving inmates out of stimulus checks.
“Inmates don’t pay taxes. They do not stimulate the economy but they’re getting $1400 checks.”
With 20 percent of Louisiana children attending private, he said, “Why don’t we help them too? They (Democrats) don’t want to help private and parochial schools with their COVID expenses.”
Cassidy concluded his comments on the COVID relief bill re-iterating his frustrations with the partisan policy making. “That was a highly partisan bill that didn’t have to be partisan…If you only govern for half the people, you’re going to worsen the division in our country.”
In other news, he expressed concerns over new policies regarding the Southern border and allowing unaccompanied minors to enter the United States. Trump’s “tough measures” at the border were necessary and Biden’s new plans are a “false compassion,” he said.
“The American people, believe me, we accept immigrants. But we want legal immigration. We don’t want policies that encourage and influence (illegal immigration) and that’s clearly what the Biden administration is doing.”
He also said that as soon as Biden’s energy team is in place he will meet with them to discuss proposed energy policies that could hurt Louisiana. A meeting will be scheduled in the next two weeks, he said.