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Republican governor urges Congress to 'go big' on pandemic relief, signaling support for Democratic proposals

Feb 2, 2021, 01:47 IST
Business Insider
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.Chris Jackson, File/AP Photo
  • West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, a Republican, urged Congress to work past partisan arguments and pass a big stimulus package to provide prompt relief.
  • A group of 10 Republican senators proposed a new stimulus plan that would significantly cut President Joe Biden's proposal in an attempt to gain bipartisan support.
  • Justice said that it's better to "go big" on a stimulus package and act quickly to ensure it does not take months to provide needed relief.
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West Virginia Governor Jim Justice strayed from his Republican colleagues in interviews on Monday and urged Congress to pass a big stimulus package, denouncing the ongoing partisan arguments on pandemic relief.

Ever since President Joe Biden unveiled his $2 trillion stimulus plan, Republicans said that the plan was too costly and would not be passed as it was proposed. However, Justice - a Republican - said on CNN and MSNBC that providing relief to Americans is too urgent to be stalled by partisan arguments.

"I believe forevermore that it was ridiculous beyond belief to have Democrats and Republicans fighting and couldn't pass a stimulus package for months," Justice said. "It was godawful. That's just all there is to it. You had people that were suffering that needed to pay their power bill, needed to pay their rent or their car payment."

It took months for Congress to pass the $900 billion relief package in December, and Justice stressed that the same thing cannot happen again.

"I absolutely believe we need to go big," the Republican governor said.

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Justice's comments follow an announcement last week that 10 Republican senators, led by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, were introducing a counter-proposal to Biden's stimulus plan, which cut the president's plan to nearly a third of the total size. That group is set to meet with Biden on Monday to discuss the proposal, but Biden is unlikely to compromise on his funding proposals, his administration previously said.

Justice said he has not yet spoken to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia on the stimulus package. Manchin, a centrist Democrat, has been working with Republicans to gain their support for Biden's package, but has raised concerns with elements of the president's plan, like the $1,400 stimulus checks.

"We need to understand that trying to be, per se, fiscally responsible at this point in time, with what we've got going on in this country - if we actually throw away some money right now, so what?" Justice told CNN.

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