HUNTINGTON — While she’s doubtful it will pass, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said she thinks the slimmed-down COVID-19 relief package sponsored by Senate President Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would help those who need it most.
Capito shared her thoughts on the relief package with West Virginia press Wednesday morning. She said she recently toured the state, and she believes the bill hits all the areas of need in West Virginia, but she’s “not optimistic” it will pass.
The GOP package would spend around $500 billion on some key priorities including small businesses, enhanced unemployment insurance, child care, the post office, coronavirus testing and schools. It would also create a type of liability shield for businesses to protect them from certain lawsuits related to the coronavirus.
Capito said her No. 1 priority was schools. The package provides $105 billion for K-12 and higher education. Capito said it was written broadly so states and counties could best decide how to use the funds.
“I think it needs to go to help people in the digital aspects,” Capito said, “like deploying more broadband. That is something we need to move forward, like yesterday. It could go to [personal protective equipment] for teachers, or provide the ability to have a nurse more in the schools to address illness and issues more immediately. It could be used for a multitude of things, but having safe classrooms and having teachers feel safe in the workplace, plus parents feeling safe to send their children back to school, is the priority. If they can’t go back to school, then we need to ensure they have digital capabilities.”
Capito said she doesn’t anticipate Senate Democrats to play ball, but she thinks the slimmed-down package includes things that everyone can agree with.
The House passed a $3 trillion relief package in May. Capito said the national debt is too high and money should be spent directly where it is needed, which is what she thinks the McConnell bill does.
“The extra trillion [dollars] is for states and local governments, but I’m sorry — that is way too much money to allocate when states, including ours, haven’t begun to spend all their money yet. They’ve begun, but they haven’t finished it,” she said.
She said if this bill doesn’t work, Senate Republicans will keep trying to find a solution.