House Republican chief deputy whip Drew Ferguson (R-GA) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview Thursday that he believes Democrts will now push a “slimmed-down” Build Back Better bill masquerading as a COVID relief bill.
Ferguson spoke to Breitbart News as President Joe Biden said during Wednesday’s press conference that Democrats may consider passing the mammoth Build Back Better bill in “chunks” to get smaller portions through Congress.
The $4.91 trillion Build Back Better Act died in December after Sen. Joe Manchin expressed his opposition to the gargantuan bill. Biden has compared the bill to the New Deal and the Great Society programs.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Thursday that Democrats may pursue a “more limited” but “still significant” bill.
This development follows as Pelosi said on Wednesday that Democrats may add coronavirus relief to the larger government funding bill.
Ferguson said that Democrats will try to push their slimmed-down Build Back Better bill ahead of Biden’s March State of the Union address.
“They’re gonna try to call a slimmed down Build Back Better plan a COVID stimulus plan. You don’t get to call a duck a squirrel, it’s still a duck,” Ferguson explained. He added that the federal government still has $800 billion in unspent coronavirus aid.
The Georgia conservative said, ironically, that the Democrats slimmed-down Build Back Better bill would alleviate America’s current problems.
“Here’s the thing, we know if they do that plan, it’s going to fuel the same problems that exist today. It’s not going to help our supply chains. It’s not going to help our workers get into the workforce. And, this excess government spending is going to continue to drive inflation,” he said.
Ferguson continued, “They’re looking to reward their political allies … They’re not really looking to help the American family and that is wrong and that’s why the President’s approval rating is below 30 percent.”
Passing a slimmed-down Build Back Better bill could pass through the Senate with a simple majority, or 51 votes, but it would require buy-ins from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Manchin has signaled that he could support $500 billion in climate change funding, universal pre-kindergarten, and more subsidies for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) said that Manchin’s backing could be secured if the slimmed-down Build Back Better bill focused more on climate change spending.
“We should take what Joe Manchin said, take the climate and clean-energy provisions in the package that have been largely worked through and financed, and take any other provisions in any other part of Build Back Better that have the votes, and put them together as a package,” Markey said.
In contrast to the Democrats, he said Republicans would focus on “pragmatic solutions” such as reopening the supply chains, bringing back manufacturing jobs, reducing crime, and opening schools.
Ferguson, a member of the House Republican Doctors Caucus, said that Republicans had “better” look at banning vaccine mandates if they take back the House majority during the 2022 midterm elections.
“I think that the vaccines have provided relief and they have reduced the seriousness in so many cases, but I think you’ve also got to acknowledge that number one is not preventing to spread the pandemic and we see that with the Omicron,” he explained. “The data is out there to show that even the vaccines are getting are getting this virus. We’ve got to we got to transition from vaccines and mandates to making sure that we have good therapeutics, and then we got the resources that we need to treat the most vulnerable to get sick just like we do with every other disease and every other in every American faces.”
“We’ve proven that in this whole notion of vaccine mandates, telling Americans what they have to do has to come to an end because they’re just wrong,” he added.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.