BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy is voicing pause over the tentative size of President Joe Biden’s proposed COVID-19 relief package.
Cassidy, on a call with reporters Tuesday, declined to support the proposed $1.9 trillion package outright, claiming too many unknowns linger.
“If we’re able to immunize people quickly — and are — and we’re able to reopen the economy, and it continues to grow, then $1.9 trillion is clearly way too much, clearly way too much,” the Louisiana Republican said.
“But if the administration can show there’s a cliff and we need this money to support people falling off the cliff, then maybe that figure is needed,” he added. “That’s why I told them to justify it.”
The White House’s current proposal would fund streamlined vaccinations, a $400 weekly unemployment supplement and $1,400 direct payments to Americans. Cassidy has opposed issuing stimulus checks across the board, favoring more targeted allocations instead.
“If somebody’s unemployed, then unemployment assistance,” he said. “If somebody is at risk of going homeless, then make sure they can make the rent.”
The 50 Senate Democrats — with Vice President Kamala Harris as a tie-breaking vote — can still pass a relief package without Republican support. Cassidy noted this possibility Tuesday, but spoke against that method of passage.
“It would be a miserable bill,” he said. “But if they decide to do it, and they’re just checking off a box politically, they have the right to do that.”