This article has been updated to correct the contents of the bill passed by the U.S. Senate.
SALT LAKE CITY — Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) are responding to the passage of the COVID-19 relief package that cleared the U.S. Senate early Saturday morning.
The bill was passed by a narrow margin of 50-49 and according to Sen. Lee was “a partisan grab bag of special interest handouts in the name of fighting a disease.”
In his statement, Lee said, “Five times, we crafted major COVID relief bills in a bipartisan process, and passed them with overwhelming bipartisan support. Today, Democrats abandoned that approach and instead passed a partisan grab bag of special interest handouts in the name of fighting a disease.
“This bloated, wasteful bill was not written for patients or businesses or workers suffering from COVID; it was written for the Democratic Party. It’s a shame and a sham,” Lee said.
Before the final vote, in a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Mitt Romney urged his colleagues to adopt his amendment to the COVID-19 relief package that would change the state and local funding formula to a “needs-based” formula.
“There was an assumption states had massive revenue losses associated with the COVID experience, but the data that has come out since then shows many states did not,” Romney said.
“Twenty-one states are seeing a rise in revenue. States like Florida don’t need more money. Oklahoma doesn’t need more money. My state of Utah doesn’t need more money. California has record surpluses, billions of dollars in surplus. And yet under this bill, California itself at the state level gets $26 billion more, and in total with its localities, it gets $41 billion,” Romney continued.
“This is on top of their already surplus year. Think about that. We’re going to be asking the American people to allow us to borrow money from China and others, pass that on to our kids and grandkids so that we can send money to states like California and mine that don’t need the money. That doesn’t make any sense at all.”
The $1.927 trillion bill that passed Saturday morning will provide $422 billion in stimulus checks to Americans at $1,400 per person. The rest of the appropriated money will go toward funding many other areas including Veteran Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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