Key House Republican calls Democrats' coronavirus bill a 'recipe for a prolonged recession'

Key House Republican calls Democrats' coronavirus bill a 'recipe for a prolonged recession'
© Greg Nash

The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee blasted House Democrats' $3 trillion coronavirus relief package on Wednesday, calling it a "recipe for a prolonged recession." 

"It leaves 30 million Americans who are jobless behind, while it is chock full of Democratic special interests," Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyHouse fires back at Trump by passing ObamaCare expansion Congress set for fight over expiring unemployment relief House Republican offers bill to create 'return to work bonus' MORE (R-Texas) said on a call with reporters.

"Our top economic priority needs to be making sure the 30 million Americans who are temporarily jobless aren't permanently jobless, and this bill does virtually nothing," he added. "The word 'cannabis' appears more times in Democrats' bill than the word 'job.'"

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House Democrats rolled out their bill on Tuesday, and the measure is expected to get a vote in the chamber on Friday.

The bill is not expected to become law due to widespread opposition from Republicans, but it lays out House Democrats' priorities. Key provisions in the measure include nearly $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments, a second round of direct payments to most Americans, and an extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits created under legislation Congress passed on a bipartisan basis in March.

Brady particularly criticized the unemployment benefits provision, which extends the $600 per week boost through Jan. 31. Democrats argue that this provision is critical to helping people who are newly out of work, but Brady and some other Republicans have taken issue with the fact that some people are now receiving more in unemployment benefits than they would be receiving if they went back to their jobs.

The bill in some ways "leaves our businesses uncompetitive with unemployment through 2021," Brady said. "That means less workers will return to work, it means our economy will recover more slowly."

Brady said he is calling for a "return to work bonus" that would allow workers to obtain $1,200 of unemployment benefits if they return to work.

Brady also criticized a provision in the Democrats' bill that would eliminate the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction for 2020 and 2021. The cap was created under Republicans' 2017 tax-cut law, which Brady played a leading role in writing.

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Democrats in high-tax states such as New York, New Jersey and California have long opposed the cap and argue that undoing it would give more money to people living in states that have been hard hit by the coronavirus.

But Brady said that a rollback of the SALT deduction cap would be a "giveaway to millionaire households, while it gives a green light for local governments to tax their families and workers even more."

The Texas Republican also said he doesn't support another round of direct payments at this point, saying Congress's main focus should be getting people back to work.