Area senators discuss Senate vote on COVID-19 package

Area senators discuss Senate vote on COVID-19 package
Sun shines on the U.S. Capitol dome, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Washington. (Source: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (KAIT) - The region’s United States Senators said that a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 bill that passed the Senate Saturday did not meet the needs of people impacted by the virus.

Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) voted no on the bill, which now goes to the U.S. House.

Sen. Boozman said on social media that the bill was “an excuse to authorize opportunistic, wish list spending Democrats have been eager to enact instead of a proposal focused on the economic & health effects of the coronavirus.”

Sen. Blunt (R-Mo.) said he believes the bill failed the American people, had untimely spending and misplaced priorities.

The Democratic Party of Arkansas countered in a social media post Saturday that the bill provided specifics in a time of need.

However, Sen. Boozman said in a media statement after the vote that the bill provided bailouts for “fiscally mismanaged states and union pension funds” and lacked direction.

“It would have been wise to focus funding toward bolstering vaccine deployment, further supporting health care workers and institutions combating the virus, and offering continued assistance to individuals and businesses suffering serious economic consequences as a result of the events of the last year. Instead, Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration have chosen to include bailouts for fiscally mismanaged states and union pension funds, as well as millions for federal arts and humanities programs and billions more to safely reopen K-12 schools when Arkansas has demonstrated previous funding has been sufficient,” Sen. Boozman said. “President Biden preached unity, but this bill isn’t the way to achieve that.”

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