Tom Cotton Urges Senate to Pass Its Own Coronavirus Package

AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin
AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin

Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) office urged his Senate Republican colleagues to pass their own coronavirus package that he argues would better alleviate the economic effects of the outbreak.

Aaron MacLean, Cotton’s legislative director, sent an email to Republican legislative directors on Monday, urging Congress’ upper chamber to pass its own plan that would better alleviate the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

MacLean wrote that the Pelosi package is insufficient to combat the growing threat of the coronavirus:

To begin with, the House doesn’t seem to actually have a bill. Further, while the plan as we understand it has some good elements, its key plank — the paid sick leave provisions combined with ever more complicated plans from Treasury to help businesses pay for them — fails to address the severity of the moment. It introduces uncertainty and complexity at a time when Americans (including business owners) are already overwhelmed. Most important, it will not help anyone whose employer goes out of business. Its policy objectives of “wage-replacement” and “wage-continuity” for a small portion of American workers are rapidy being overcome by global events. The Senate should think bigger.

Cotton’s legislative director revealed that the senator has already spoken with many Republican senators about his proposal — that Republicans should pass their own package, which would include:

  1. Tax rebates to “move cash to Americans swiftly.”
  2. Expanded or “loosened” criteria and funding to allow for established state-administered programs such as unemployment insurance and TANF “to surge assistance to Americans in need during the current crisis.”
  3. “Significantly expanded” low-interest loans to businesses.

MacLean concluded in his email, “Cash to workers, loans to businesses. Keep it simple, make it fast. More details forthcoming from our office, but the key point today is we don’t need to accept the Mnuchin-Pelosi plan.”

MacLean’s email follows as Cotton floated a plan on Fox News to “get cash into the hands of affected workers and their families” due to national shutdowns of businesses in nearly every industry.

“We don’t want to see layoffs, we want to see people who are at home, if they have any reason to be at home, supported immediately,” Cotton said during the interview with Fox News.

He added:

This is an emergency measure that only needs to last for a few weeks if we all take the prudent steps necessary. That’s why I think we want to use systems like, say, Treasury [Department] refunds to anyone whose paid taxes in 2018 or unemployment systems or other social welfare agencies that are set up to quickly get cash into the hands of affected workers and their families.

Breitbart News’ economics editor John Carney touted the plan of providing cash to the American people to help contain the “economic emergency” created by the Wuhan virus epidemic.

Carney wrote:

We need to put cash into the hands of the American people as quickly as possible.

I propose $1,000 of cash for every U.S. citizen. A family of four gets $4000 per month for the duration of the crisis. Bigger families get more. This boost of income will allow Americans to build emergency savings without having to drastically cut down on their spending.

This will not stop all the job losses but it will make them less painful. More importantly, it will make it far less likely that we go from stage one to stage two. It will make it more likely that the economic emergency can be contained to frontline effects.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) echoed the idea of providing cash payments to Americans, saying, “Every American adult should immediately receive $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy.”

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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