House GOP Blasts 'Bailouts' for Democrat-Run States That Locked Down

Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee have harshly criticized Democrats' plans to provide $350 billion in relief funds to state and local governments.

Congressman James Comer, a ranking member of the committee who represents Kentucky's 1st congressional district, issued a statement condemning the proposals on Tuesday.

"Democrats' plan to bail out locked-down, poorly managed liberal states is unfair to American taxpayers and is ripe for waste, fraud, and abuse," Comer said.

"More money should not be provided to liberal states that closed businesses, schools, and churches, which placed their residents in greater economic, physical, and mental harm," he said.

"Additionally, Congress already provided states and local governments with pandemic relief funding and questions remain about how much of those funds have been spent and if they were used appropriately.

"We need those answers before Congress even considers adding more money to our country's already massive debt. Responsible governing calls for accountability and transparency before and after the government writes a check. Unfortunately, Democrats have failed to live up to this responsibility by hastily rushing this enormous bailout through the committee."

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) provided $150 billion for state and local governments. The total stimulus package, passed in March 2020, was worth $2.2 trillion.

House Democrats are supporting President Joe Biden's stimulus package, which will provide $350 billion for state and local governments. States will receive $195 billion under the plan, while $130 billion would go to local government.

U.S. territories are set to receive $4.5 billion and $20 billion will be provided to tribes, according to Bloomberg. In addition, the stimulus bill will include $570 million to cover 600 hours of paid leave for federal and postal workers. This leave is designed to cover COVID-19 quarantine and caring for loved ones who have the virus.

"It's also unfair to the American people to provide an additional 600 hours of paid leave on top of regular paid leave to federal workers who already enjoy many work perks," Comer said. "The Democrats' priorities are incredibly distorted given that many small businesses are struggling and millions of Americans are unemployed."

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat who chairs the House Oversight Committee, is expected to bring a bill before the committee on Friday that would create a dedicated state and local fund. This would bypass the usual appropriations process, allowing Congress to use budget reconciliation to provide the funds.

Comer has criticized lockdowns in the past. In December last year, he wrote an op-ed for The Washington Examiner urging his home state of Kentucky not to impose further COVID-19 lockdowns.

"Our economy doesn't need more closures and lockdowns that only cause further economic pain and suffering," Comer wrote. "Instead, states must continue to reopen safely, and Congress should pass a responsible, targeted stimulus package."

Republican Congressman James Comer of Kentucky
Rep. James Comer (R-KY) makes an opening statement during a hearing to discuss unsustainable drug prices with CEO's of major drug companies on September 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. Comer has criticized Democrats' plans to provide relief funds for state and local governments. Greg Nash - Pool/Getty Images