House

Top conservatives pen letter to Trump with concerns on fourth coronavirus relief bill

Top conservatives in the House are cautioning President Trump against rushing to support a fourth coronavirus relief package, expressing concern additional stimulus legislation could have a detrimental impact on the nation’s debt and deficit. 

In a letter spearheaded by House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) sent to the president Friday, the lawmakers argued the bills recently passed by Congress aimed at mitigating the financial fallout from the outbreak have not yet fully taken effect, adding they believe calls for subsequent bills are premature. 

“We applaud you for the heroic efforts you and the Administration have taken in the face of the largest public health challenge our nation has faced in over a century. Now that the CARES Act has been signed into law, we urge you to stand against the additional requests that are already circulating for a rushed fourth and fifth phase of relief,” they wrote. 

“Most of the relief funding from Phase 2 and Phase 3 has not even been distributed yet. We advise caution in considering an additional round of spending outside of the regular process before we have seen the results of the previous three rounds of spending,” they continued.

The lawmakers said they are confident the country will recover from the pandemic, applauding first responders for putting themselves at risk to combat COVID-19 and acknowledging the financial difficulties Americans have faced.

However, the group argued the long-term consequences on the nation’s debt could prove to be a more difficult challenge to overcome down the road. 

“During this time of crisis, we have been enormously encouraged by the efforts of our brave doctors, nurses, first responders, law enforcement personnel, and others on the front lines of this struggle, as well as by the resilience of Americans across the country. We also have great sympathy for the millions of workers who are currently unemployed, and above all for the families of those who have lost their lives,” they continued. 

“However, while our nation will win the war against the coronavirus, it may not win the war against our mounting debt. Even before the CARES Act was signed into law, the national debt stood at $23.6 trillion, which equates to nearly $73,000 for every citizen — man, woman, and child. Now we will add at least $2 trillion to this already unsustainable sum. Every dollar we add to the debt today makes it increasingly less likely that we will be able to provide even the basic services our citizens have come to expect in the decades to come.”  

The group asserted that if additional legislation is needed, the proposed bill should not include provisions that do not directly relate to providing relief from the outbreak and should contain steps that can be taken to offset the costs. 

In addition to Biggs, Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Johnson (La.) as well as Republican Reps. Ralph Norman (S.C.), Andy Harris (Md.), Chip Roy (Texas), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Ron Wright (Texas), Randy Weber (Texas), Jody Hice (Ga.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Steve King (Iowa), Ted Budd (N.C.), Russ Fulcher (Idaho), Glenn Grothman (Wis.), Debbie Lesko (Ariz.), Greg Steube (Fla.), Ross Spano (Fla.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Ken Buck (Colo.), Tom McClintock (Calif.), Michael Cloud (Texas) and Scott Perry (Pa.) signed onto the letter. 

The letter comes as top Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have been vocal in their call for a fourth emergency aid bill, which is expected to include a sizable investment in the nation’s infrastructure. 

While GOP leadership in both chambers have expressed reservations, the president has indicated that he’s open to supporting additional legislation with an infrastructure component. 

“With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

“It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country!” he added.

Tags Andy Harris Chip Roy Coronavirus Donald Trump Glenn Grothman Greg Steube Jeff Duncan Jim Jordan Jody Hice Ken Buck Louie Gohmert Mike Johnson Nancy Pelosi Ralph Norman Randy Weber Ron Wright Ross Spano Scott Perry Steve King Stimulus Package Ted Budd Tom McClintock
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