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West Virginia officials react to latest economic stimulus package

WV News

WASHINGTON (WV News) — After months of gridlock and failed negotiations, Congress approved a $900 billion economic stimulus package late Monday evening.

West Virginia’s congressional representatives have each released statements commenting on the latest coronavirus aid package, with all but Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., praising the bipartisan legislation.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said the legislation, which was paired with year-end spending bills, contains multiple wins for West Virginians.

“Late tonight, Congress passed a year-end spending package that contains long overdue COVID-19 emergency relief funding, the first comprehensive national energy package in 13 years, designation of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and additional West Virginia priorities,” Manchin said.

Manchin, known as one of the most centrist members of the Senate, helped forge a compromise that forced the long-stalled negotiations into the final stretch.

“The bipartisan, bicameral legislation I introduced last week served as the foundation for the final COVID-19 relief bill and while some of our priorities were unfortunately not included in the final package, I am pleased this final bill supports programs that will help our workers, families and small businesses make it through the difficult months ahead,” he said.

The latest relief package, which includes an additional round of direct payments to citizens, is long overdue, said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

“Earlier this year, we came together and responded to this crisis by passing the CARES Act. I’m pleased today we could finally deliver additional relief to those that need it the most, like our small businesses, health-care workers, communities, and individuals and families across the country as we continue battling this pandemic,” she said.

“But, let’s be clear: This relief should have and could have been delivered months ago. Many of the provisions that passed today were included in the targeted relief Senate Republicans offered up in the HEALS Act in July.”


Capito blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for stalling the negotiations.

“Speaker Pelosi herself admitted to holding out on this relief because she thought it would benefit her politically in the election. Millions of Americans were pawns, struggling to make ends meet,” she said. “Countless small businesses have shut their doors in the meantime. Though long past due, we are now able to provide some relief to the American people that hopefully can provide optimism and support to our fellow citizens this Christmas.”

Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., also said the package should have been passed months ago and cast blame on Pelosi.

“Much like the CARES Act helped us get through the initial months, this will help the country through the difficult winter months until the vaccine is widely available,” he said. “However, it is frustrating it came to this late hour just days before Christmas. This relief should have been passed months ago. Instead, Speaker Pelosi refused to budge from her multi-trillion dollar wish list and gambled it was better to wait until after the election so the Democrats could use this as an issue in the campaign.”

Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., said several provisions of the legislation are aimed at the needs of those living in rural areas.

“This package provides critical resources for increased access to vaccinations, small business loans, and direct payments to Americans,” she said. “The legislation goes further to end surprise medical billing, provides permanent tax relief for families, and allows for more access and flexibility in rural hospitals and clinics.”

Mooney was among the two Democrats and 50 Republicans in the House who did not support the package.

“With multiple vaccines on the way thanks to President Trump and Operation Warp Speed, we do not need to pile on so much additional debt,” he said. “Now is the time to safely reopen our schools and our economy and reverse the draconian measures in blue states like California and New York that have led to the unemployment of millions of Americans.”