Shortly after the House of Representatives voted to approve a coronavirus relief measure by an overwhelming 388-5 vote on Thursday, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) said it was time to start planning for reopening the economy.
The Alabama Republican told Huntsville, AL’s WVNN that he was concerned about the long-term deficit implications of coronavirus relief measures. However, he also took on the national media for what Byrne said was, at times, “irresponsible” coverage of the pandemic.
“I’m very worried we’re not thinking about long-term,” he said. “Sometimes I think around here — we’re not even thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow. We cannot just continue to shovel money at this problem out of Washington. You have to get the American economy going again. Now, I hear a lot of the voices on the national news media, some of whom I think have been irresponsible. They’ve made false claims. They’ve quoted false statistics. Then when it is proven to be false, they just walk away from it and act like it didn’t happen. We’re going to continue to get people like that using the news media to try to put forth an agenda that doesn’t match up with reality.”
“Our job as public officials is to do right for the people we represent,” Byrne continued. “And that means sometimes we’ve got to ignore these people on television and ignore what their agenda is and make sure we do the balancing act that we’re required to do in a time like this. It’s not public health or economic health. You can do both at the same time. But you have to balance one with the other. And I think we’re at that point where it is time to start doing that balancing.”
Byrne argued against a one-size-fits-all approach but said the was now to start making preparations.
“You can’t do it everywhere,” Byrne added. “Alabama can open next Friday. New York can’t. There are other places that just can’t do it. They’re just not at that point. We’ve got to — in a phase, in a phase-basis — reopen the American economy. And I think it’s time for us to start planning to do that and doing it.”
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor