Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) expressed disappointment over the Senate GOP coronavirus stimulus package that includes a provision to give state and local government more flexibility on how they can use $150 billion, saying Congress “shouldn’t be bailing out” states for their bad budgeting.
“I think we ought to be helping our states that are having coronavirus issues with their coronavirus costs,” Scott said in an interview with CNBC ‘Squawk Box’ Monday morning. “But we shouldn’t be bailing out their pension plans and their wasteful spending. So I don’t think we ought to be doing that.”
“And by the way, we don’t know where how this, the money we’ve already allocated had been spent, we don’t know how much of it’s been spent how it’s been spent, and we’re making these decisions with no information you would never do this in your business life, you’d never operate like this where you make you say oh I’m gonna spend more money but I don’t have any idea how I’ve spent the money, or how much money I haven’t spent that we’ve sent around all these different places so I think we got to be cautious,” Scott continued.
Last week, Republicans were publicity split over several key provisions of the package since a closed-door session with the Trump administration revealed the size of the next relief package will have a top-line figure at $1 trillion. One of the provisions included in the price tag allows for state and local governments more flexibility to use the $150 billion already appropriated by Congress.
Scott, along with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) wrote a letter to their Senate colleagues to urge their respective states to provide more information from state and local governments to report back how they have allocated billions of dollars received from the CARES Act and other federal coronavirus response measures, saying this information is critical before Congress “considers additional relief measures.”
The Florida Senator stated he will “fight” to get this provision removed.
I’m very disappointed that the Republican proposal outlined today includes provisions allowing states to use Coronavirus-related $$ for unrelated purposes.
I will fight any & all proposals that allow poorly-run states to use this $$ to backfill their poorly-managed budgets. pic.twitter.com/Uqh8UcxWox
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) July 21, 2020
Scott said the stimulus package should go towards helping the people that lost their jobs, helping small businesses to reopen, liability protections for first responders, small businesses, and schools first before allocating more funds to governments.
“You got to help the people that are unemployed,” Scott said. “You’ve got to make sure we help our small businesses get open. You’ve got to get liability protection for first responders or schools and small businesses. And then you’ve got to, you got to be smart about the rest of it.”
Senate Republicans are expected to unveil their roughly $1 trillion proposal on Monday afternoon that is expected to include a second round of stimulus checks, roughly $105 billion for schools reopening, $16 billion in new testing money, more flexibility for how states and local governments can use $150 billion appropriated by Congress in March, and a five-year shield from coronavirus lawsuits except in the case of gross negligence or intentional misconduct.