As lawmakers struggle to find common priorities for the next stimulus package, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for keeping businesses and schools closed instead of prioritizing getting Americans back to work and off government assistance.
Cruz went further to say he does not even agree with the provision in the GOP stimulus bill which would continue to fund the additional $600 per month unemployment benefits.
“At the same time, we have an absolute economic catastrophe: We have over 44 million Americans that have lost their job. And we have got to get America back to work,” Cruz told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“Unfortunately, I just listened to your interview with Speaker Pelosi, her objectives are focused on neither of those. Her objectives are shoveling cash at the problem and shutting America down … You look at the $3 trillion bill she’s trying to push. It’s just shoveling money to her friends and not actually solving the problem,” Cruz said.
Cruz said many small businesses in Texas are having a problem getting employees to come back to work because they are making more on unemployment than when they were working, sometimes twice as much. Cruz said he is opposed to throwing trillions more at the problem but instead wants to focus on “recovery.”
“We ought to be passing a recovery bill. Now what’s a recovery bill? A recovery bill would be lifting the taxes and the regulations that are hammering small businesses, so that people can go back to work. A recovery bill would suspend the payroll tax which would give a pay raise to everyone in America who’s working. That actually gets people back to work,” Cruz said.
As negotiations continue, the other key provisions that Cruz is pushing for in the next federal legislation to mitigate the current economic crisis are healthcare and school choice.
Cruz wants to expand access to Health Saving Accounts (HSAs) so Americans have the flexibility to make health care choices that best meet their family’s needs, and he wants to expand School Choice by expanding scholarship opportunities.
Cruz criticized Democrats for keeping the economy closed and accused them of being motivated by politics in order to hurt President Donald Trump’s chances of reelection in November.
“I am on board with restarting the economy. What Democrats want to do… we’re 100 days out from the presidential election. The only objective Democrats have is to defeat Donald Trump. And they’ve cynically decided the best way to defeat Donald Trump is shut down every business in America, shut down every school in America,” said Cruz.
“Nancy Pelosi talks about working men and women. What she’s proposing is keeping working men and women from working. And, you know, ironically, what she does have in her bill, she has a big tax cut for millionaires and billionaires in blue states,” he added.
The GOP stimulus legislation is still being finalized by the GOP leadership and the White House and has yet to be officially unveiled, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has confirmed the main focus areas of the new package.
“The CARES Act provided Kentucky and our nation with the tools to endure the first phase of the coronavirus crisis. But America’s fight continues, so Congress’s support for our people must continue as well. CARES 2 will focus on three things: Kids, jobs, and healthcare,” McConnell in a tweet Friday.
Democrats have criticized Republicans’ lack of urgency to finalize the next relief package.
“After 10 weeks of Senate Republicans’ unilateral ‘pause’ on responding to the coronavirus, it remains unclear whether they will release their plan today—even as working families struggle to make rent, children go hungry, and unemployment is expiring,” Pelosi said in a tweet Monday.
Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued a statement after McConnell announced the delay with the GOP package.
“We had expected to be working throughout this weekend to find common ground on the next COVID response package. It is simply unacceptable that Republicans have had this entire time to reach consensus among themselves and continue to flail. Time is of the essence and lives are being lost.”