UPDATED 8:00 PM PT — Thursday, July 23, 2020
Tea Party conservatives have raised the alarm over the price tag of the Senate’s latest coronavirus relief legislation. The bill was confirmed to cost around $1 trillion, which would be allocated for testing, reopening schools and a new round of stimulus checks.
Amid negotiations with the White House over the plan, conservatives warned against putting too high a price on it, due to potential economic backlash.
On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) stressed Republicans should not abandon their beliefs because of this virus. This followed his criticism the day prior, when he compared his fellow Congress members to “Bernie bros or a progressive caucus.”
“You ask any Republican six months ago: Would it be a good idea to add $5 trillion to the debt? No. Every Republican in the land complained about President Obama increasing the debt from $10 to $20 trillion over eight years. It’s absurd, it’s obscene. If deficits were bad and a danger to the economy under President Obama, they’re just as much of a danger now. Just because we have a pandemic doesn’t mean deficit is any less dangerous to the economy.” – Rand Paul, U.S. Senator
In the meantime, other senators have argued there is still not enough information available on how state and local governments used the previous relief funds.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) noted this pandemic and “crisis should not be used as an excuse to spend” his “state’s taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars” in order to bail out other “poorly managed state budgets.”
“As we begin looking at another spending bill, we need to know how the money already allocated has been spent. Last month, I wrote to all governors requesting details on how this taxpayer money is being spent. I’m still waiting on responses from most of them.” – Rick Scott, U.S. Senator
As fiscal conservatives voice concerns about this additional aid, many believe the Senate’s $1 trillion price tag will only go up after Republicans negotiate their package with Democrats.