Needed relief or a pork-filled giveaway? Pa. Senators split over $1.9T COVID bill

This Week in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A nearly $2 trillion COVID relief bill is poised to pass Congress and head to the American people. Is that a good thing? Well, that depends on which U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania you decide to ask.

“Let’s be honest. This bill has nothing to do with COVID, nothing to do with the economy, it has everything to do with Rahm Emanuel’s edict of never let a good crisis go to waste,” U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) said.

But waste? There’s lots of that, insists Toomey, disguised as relief.

“$128 billion that they say is to reopen schools — except none of it requires schools to reopen,” Toomey said.

And $1,400 stimulus checks to people who never lost pay. A family of four making $149,000 would get $5,600.

“That’s on top of the $5,800 you got last year,” Toomey said. “They may have very substantial savings, it could be in the millions, literally, and the taxpayers are gonna send them $11,000 of money we don’t have? How does that make any sense at all?” Toomey asked.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) has a different perspective.

“This bill is popular for a reason. People have been waiting for months. For that additional check, the $1,400,” Casey said.

Casey rejects the Republican complaints, saying they pushed through massive tax cuts in 2017 — a gift to higher earners.

“My god, rich people in America have gotten so much now for four years. It’s about time that workers got a little,” Casey said.

Casey says it’s better to do too much than too little, and says it can’t be done too quickly.

“I don’t care, I want to get this bill done, get the virus behind us and get out of this tunnel of death we’ve been in and kick start the economy,” Casey said.

But government over-reach and over-spending is the sickness Toomey fears is spreading out of control.

“It’s never a good idea to have the government go around sprinkling money or dropping it out of a helicopter or doing whatever it’s going to do,” Toomey said.

Republicans can slow the COVID bill down, but it’s not likely they can stop it.

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