Wisconsin U.S. Representatives’ responses to the $2 trillion in coronavirus relief include concern over unemployment expansion

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher

Wisconsin U.S. Representatives respond to the sweeping $2 trillion coronavirus relief package signed by President Trump just hours after it cleared the House.

The chamber approved the package by voice vote, meaning members of the Wisconsin delegation weren’t on the record. Still, two of the state’s Republican lawmakers expressed tepid support on the floor during the more than four hours of debate ahead of the vote. 

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, labeled the package “far from perfect” but added lawmakers “cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Speaking nearly two hours later, U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman knocked the package’s price tag as being “too high” and he was concerned an unemployment insurance provision “delays the recovery.”

Still, the Glenbeulah Republican said Congress “must act to calm the panic and move back to normalcy.”      

Speaking ahead of the vote to Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher said the package “may be well spent if we can prevent the death of hundreds of thousands and keep the economy tied together with a little bit of duct tape.”

But the Green Bay Republican said lawmakers couldn’t continue to infuse dollars back into the country at the rate they are currently and mirrored Grothman’s concerns about a “dramatic expansion” of unemployment benefits.

“I think that’s a dangerous disincentive and an unintended consequence of moving so quickly and trying to strike that balance with getting relief right now versus not setting off unintended consequences,” he said.  

On the other side of the aisle, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, and Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, praised the package.

In a statement, Kind praised the package as an “important step toward getting businesses, working families, and health care providers the support they need.”

Moore highlighted a number of aspects in the package but added “more work needs to be done.”

Spokesmen for U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, and Jim Sensenbrenner, R- Menomonee Falls, were not immediately available for comment.

See the Steil speech: https://www.c-span.org/video/?470724-1/house-approves-2-trillion-coronavirus-economic-relief-bill&start=3712#

See the Grothman speech: https://www.c-span.org/video/?470724-1/house-approves-2-trillion-coronavirus-economic-relief-bill&start=10918# 

See the Kind statement: https://www.wispolitics.com/2020/u-s-rep-kind-statement-on-todays-bipartisan-vote-to-bring-economic-relief-to-wisconsins-workers-families-small-businesses-and-health-care-system/ 

See the Moore statement: https://www.wispolitics.com/2020/u-s-rep-moore-applauds-the-passage-of-families-workers-first-coronavirus-response-package/

— From WisPolitics.com