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It is difficult to suppress visions of yet another dozen suffering Latin Americans putting on backpacks and heading north every time a congressional Republican falsely shouts that President Joe Biden has “opened the borders.” Thus, the GOP adds refugees to former president Donald Trump’s border logjam every day.

Perhaps, with their melodramas featuring Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss having closed out of town, the GOP hopes their overblown cries of disaster at the border will distract us from the good work being done by Democrats, such as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who, without a single Republican vote, passed major COVID-19 relief.

Evidently not content to have worn themselves out attempting to torpedo the badly needed cash infusion, the GOP now misrepresents details of the relief package itself. Sen. John Borrasso, R-Wyo., falsely claimed that, “Only 9% of the money actually goes to defeating the virus.”

Sadly, each of West Virginia’s Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation has echoed Borrasso’s confabulation. Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va., termed the relief act, “reckless spending ... most of which had nothing to do with addressing the effects of the pandemic.”

Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., likewise threw honesty out the window, saying that the bill is, “... full of liberal wish list items that do nothing to crush COVID or create jobs ...”

Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., cooked up a stew of indignation, offering that, “... $350 billion [is] going to bailout Democrat-led states ...” He evidently couldn’t bring himself to mention that his own deeply red West Virginia was granted cash almost equal to a year of the state’s budget.

Rep. McKinley even bemoaned the $300 extension of weekly unemployment benefits, as if COVID-19 is not responsible for massive job losses. McKinley bizarrely added, “... $130 billion [goes] to K-12 schools, without any guarantee of students returning to school ...” A constituent could dive head first into an empty pool and still come out knowing that McKinley’s remark was adrift and taking on water.

Given the GOP’s Herculean efforts to misinform us, some review of the relief spending, the vast majority of which indeed goes to COVID-19 relief, is called for.

First, the $1,400-per-person stimulus payments (22% of the total relief) goes to many families in distress because of pandemic-related pink slips. Another 12% will be used for health insurance assistance for many of those same workers. An additional 13% will provide the extended unemployment benefits that are bemoaned by McKinley. Capito, Miller, Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., and McKinley seem to believe that we are too dense to understand that each of these expenditures is pandemic related.

And they evidently hope that we will turn rational thought on its head by believing that the 27% of funds going to state and local governments and schools carries no connection to the virus, even though those entities now may fill the many police, firefighter and teacher positions left vacant because of the pandemic.

There is more, such as relief going to help airline companies, and their tens of thousands of workers who were grounded by the pandemic, back on their feet.

All of that belies the complaints of the GOP “aginner” caucus. It is to their shame that Republicans in Congress, who seem at a loss for productive policy suggestions, now misrepresent how the relief funds are being used.

Instead, they cast out bait about border “disasters,” Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head and how the relief funds are targeted, all in hopes of reeling in their limit of constituents. Americans have a choice. Take the bait, or swim away from it.

Joseph Wyatt is a Gazette-Mail contributing columnist and emeritus professor at Marshall University. Reach him at

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