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Stefanik opposes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Rep. Elise Stefanik gives a victory speech on election night, Nov. 3, 2020, at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls. (Provided photo — Christopher Lenney, Watertown Daily Times)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Elise Stefanik on Friday planned to vote against a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package President Joseph Biden proposed last month.

Stefanik called the bill a “partisan spending package,” filled with “pork projects, special interest giveaways, and the Far-Left’s policy wish list.”

“It is unacceptable that less than 10% of the package is for public health measures, and more than half of the funding will not even be spent until 2022 or later,” she said in a statement.

The relief package, called the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, would direct $50 billion to COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, $19 billion to expand public health staffing, and $16 billion for vaccine distribution and supply chains. The bill would also expand unemployment and the Child Tax Credit; direct funding for emergency rental assistance and mortgage assistance; authorize another round of stimulus checks; direct billions of dollars in grants and relief funding to state and local governments, schools and businesses; and increase the federal minimum wage to $15, plus a variety of other measures.

“While I have long advocated for critical COVID relief funding for North Country hospitals, counties and municipalities, schools, and small businesses, this bill is packed with unacceptable Far-Left priorities,” Stefanik said. “Rather than reaching across the aisle in the spirit of bipartisanship, Speaker Pelosi and President Biden are instead forcing a highly partisan package with the majority of funding for non-COVID related programs, and then sticking American taxpayers with the $2 trillion bill.”

The bill was expected to pass in the Democratic-majority House on Friday, but its future in the Senate in uncertain.

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