Oklahoma's Delegation Reacts To Democrats' Push For President Biden's COVID Relief Package

Wednesday, February 3rd 2021, 5:33 pm
By: Alex Cameron


All indications at the moment are that President Joe Biden and the Democrat-controlled Congress will try to pass the second largest relief package in the nation's history without any support from Republicans.

The largest relief package was the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which Congress passed with overwhelming bipartisan support last March. Biden’s "American Rescue Plan" has a price tag of $1.9 trillion.

"That’s an insane amount of money," said Rep. Markwayne Mullin, (R) OK-2. “We are literally going to bankrupt our economy and our country at the same time that we say we’re trying to save it."

Mullin said it's bad enough that the Democrats have not worked with Republicans at all on this package, but he has a bigger concern.

"The real concern is that there’s over $1 trillion in the stimulus packages, the last two, that haven’t been spent," he said.

Mullin isn't alone in thinking passage of another relief package now could be premature.

"I’m not sure that passing something so soon is necessary," said Rep. Stephanie Bice, (R) OK-5.

Bice said some parts of the president's proposal are worth considering, but certainly not the part that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

"I’ve had some restauranteurs reach out to me and tell me that, should a $15 minimum wage be put in place, they would have to lay off employees," Bice said.

Oklahoma's 3rd District Congressman Frank Lucas is trying to give the president the benefit of the doubt, and said it's still possible the relief package Congress is asked to vote on will have input from both parties.

"If the president is really sincere about bipartisan support, he’ll go with something based on that $600 billion plan," Lucas said.

Lucas is referring to the proposal a group of ten GOP senators outlined for the president on Monday at the White House. He said the most important thing any plan could do right now is help get the nation inoculated.

"Let’s all take our shots, let’s all be enthusiastic about it, and whatever we can do to encourage the production, distribution, and the application of those vaccines, that’s what we need to be working on," said Lucas.

The reconciliation process Democrats are pursuing to try and pass this without needing more than simple majorities in either the House or Senate could take time, especially with the Senate having to set all else aside while the impeachment trial goes on. It's been reported it could be March before a relief bill gets to Biden’s desk.