West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) on Monday argued that it’s not the time to skimp out on COVID-19 relief to Americans as the country reels from more than 440,000 deaths during the pandemic thus far.
Asked on CNN whether West Virginians find it more important for President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill passes even without Republican support or a bipartisan agreement even if they receive less money, Justice replied that he’s “not just blowing smoke” when he said he wishes “we could all come together.”
After noting that many West Virginians are struggling to pay their power bill due to layoffs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Justice was pressed again about his stance on COVID-19 relief.
Justice dismissed the idea of being “fiscally responsible” in a time when many Americans are struggling to get by.
“We need to understand that trying to be, per se, fiscally responsible at this point in time with what we’ve got going on in this country — if we actually throw away some money right now, so what?” Justice said. “We have really got to move and get people taken care of and get people back on balance.”
Justice added that he wants to work with the Biden administration just like he worked with the Trump administration in order to”move forward” on COVID-19 relief.
Justice was also asked about his thoughts on Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-VA) skepticism
about the benefits of a new round of stimulus checks. Manchin said last month that he does “not know where in the hell $2,000 came from” and griped about the additional price tag. The West Virginia governor claimed that he has not talked directly to Manchin recently.
“I don’t really know exactly what he thinks that could possibly be there,” Justice said. “I mean, we got people that are really hurting. I mean that’s just all there is to it.”
Justice’s remarks come a day after a group of 10 Republican senators urged Biden in a letter on Sunday morning to support their COVID-19 relief counterproposal.
The Republican senators offered an approximately $600 billion COVID-19 relief package — an offer that falls short of Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan — and requested a meeting with the President to discuss it. The letter to Biden was sent amid congressional Democrats eyeing budget reconciliation to pass COVID-19 relief legislation without needing any Republican votes.
Biden is scheduled to meet with the 10 Republican senators on Monday. The Republican senators behind the COVID-19 counterproposal — which include Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Rob Portman (R-OH) — that they were “pleased to accept” the President’s invitation.
Watch Justice’s remarks below:
Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) calls for large-scale stimulus:
"Trying to be per se fiscally responsible at this point in time … if we actually throw away some money right now, so what?" pic.twitter.com/OQ2LhFTIS0
— The Recount (@therecount) February 1, 2021