U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, who represents the Jacksonville area, is defending the relief package Congress approved despite getting roundly criticized on social media by conservatives.
He issued this statement:
“Tonight, Congress passed a package that includes our annual funding bills, as well as badly needed relief for Americans hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is neither the process I would have chosen nor the bill I would have written, but it contains crucial assistance for small businesses, families, and our healthcare workers on the front lines.
I voted yes on this bipartisan compromise that includes:
- $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.
- $29 billion for vaccine acquisition and deployment.
- $600 per person making under $75,000 annually to help stimulate the economy.
- $300 per week in federal unemployment insurance, in addition to state unemployment benefits.
With vaccines already reaching healthcare workers and other high-risk populations, it is my hope that this will be the last taxpayer funded COVID relief bill needed. The only way to truly revitalize our economy is to safely reopen America and get folks back to work.”
Rutherford told Eye on Jacksonville that the media has confused people and he also said he is not happy with the president for making confusing statements.
Rutherford noted that the Red Chinese virus relief bill – called the “stimulus” by some – was grafted onto the budget bill because Democrats were afraid they couldn’t get enough support from their own party, which controls the House.
Much of the spending many people are objecting to was in the president’s budget, Rutherford said.
There was some progress made on the relief bill since its inception, he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi originally wanted to spend something north of $1.8 trillion, far more than the final $900 billion enacted.
That included bailout money for states run by fiscally irresponsible Democrats.
That spending was removed, Rutherford said.
However, to get it removed, Republicans had to give up a measure that would have protected businesses from being sued over the virus.
Democrats want to crush businesses and further enrich wealthy lawyers — and they got their way.
But the spending in the relief package itself is all related to the efforts to control the virus, Rutherford said.
The conservative National Review also approved the measure, while pointing out a number of shortcomings. Among other little-noticed reasons to support the bill is the fact that it imposes needed curbs on the Federal Reserve, Review said.
On another topic, Rutherford told Eye that he might join in an effort to challenge the election results on Jan. 6. It is led by Republicans and would lose on a strictly party vote.
But some members are taking it very seriously. Newly elected Rep. Madison Cawthon of North Carolina hasn’t even been seated and already is threatening to support campaigns against members who are not “on the record calling for fair, free and just elections.”
Media reporting on the relief bill has been short on details and confusing to everyone. Adding to the turmoil is President Trump’s overnight demand that relief checks be $2,000 each rather than $600.
Nothing ever ends in Washington. Should Trump veto the measure, another acrimonious round of debate is sure to ensue.
Peace on Earth. Good will to men.