In a statement released shortly after Senate Democrats passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion virus relief package, Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott called Washington “completely dysfunctional.”
“I’ve said all along that I want targeted relief for families and businesses suffering from the pandemic,” Scott said. “That’s why Republicans just spent the entire night trying to work with Senate Democrats to get something done that will actually help Floridians and Americans across our nation who are still struggling due to COVID-19. But that’s not what the Democrats wanted.”
Scott continued to criticize his colleagues on the left, saying the package “was never about helping the American people.” Senators approved the package on a 50-49 party-line vote. Vice President Kamala Harris‘ tiebreaking vote wasn’t needed because Sen. Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican, wasn’t on hand to vote with his party.
“They’re using trillions of American taxpayer dollars, under the guise of COVID relief, to fund their liberal priorities and pay back their blue state Governor pals,” Scott said in a statement. “They really should be ashamed of this political theater.”
The American Rescue Plan will provide $1,400 checks for most Americans, and direct billions of dollars to schools, state and local governments, as well as businesses.
The administration estimates that 158.5 million households will still receive checks under the Senate compromise, according to The Associated Press.
Scott defended his scrutiny of the legislation by citing the country’s current debt margin.
“Our nation is $28 trillion in debt,” Scott said. “With the passage of this bill, Senate Democrats have increased the debt to $30 trillion, knowing that they and President Biden have no plan to address it or its devastating consequences for American families.”
In addition to the stimulus checks, the legislation will distribute $350 billion to state and local governments and tribal governments for costs incurred up until the end of 2024, according to The Associated Press. It would also send about $130 billion in additional help to schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. And, a new program for restaurants and bars hurt by the pandemic would receive $25 billion.
The bill also provides $46 billion to expand federal, state and local testing for COVID-19 and to enhance vaccine rollout.
“At this rate and the direction Democrats are taking us, there is no way our nation will ever be able to pay off this unsustainable debt without significant change,” Scott said. “It’s time to get serious about what this means for our nation moving forward. I will never stop fighting to ensure accountability to American taxpayers and get Washington’s insane spending under control.”