Politics Senate GOP pans Biden’s COVID relief plan by taking aim at N.Y. bridge cash sought by Trump
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Senate Republicans apparently aren’t big fans of Donald Trump’s government spending priorities.
Republican leaders in the Senate claimed inthis week that President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan includes tons of unnecessary cash that should be cut out because it doesn’t pertain to the pandemic, including $1.5 million for a bridge in upstate New York.
Only problem is: The Trump administration — not Biden or congressional Democrats — originally made the $1.5 million request for the Seaway International Bridge, which borders with Canada.
“This underscores the struggle Republicans have with messaging against this popular legislation,” a senior Democratic Senate aide said Wednesday, noting thatshows 60% of registered GOP voters are supportive of Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan.
The Daily 202: Biden builds back boring in town hall. That’s not a bad thing
Let’s come out and say it: An absence of incendiary tweets doesn’t make a young presidency boring when the administration is facing a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, the resulting economic devastation, the climate crisis and a host of other problems. A running seven-day average of deaths from the virus stood at 2,455. Whatever the assessment of whether Biden is meeting those challenges, these are not boring times. On the substance, the Delaware Democrat probably disappointed progressives on several fronts.
A Senate GOP leadership aide did not return a request for comment.
Traffic moves across the Seaway International Bridge that spans across the St. Lawrence River linking Massena, N.Y., and Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. (Mike Groll/)
knocking Biden’s stimulus package claimed the $1.5 million was earmarked “to build Chuck Schumer a bridge.”
However, officials at then-President Trump’s Transportation Department sent a letter to congressional appropriators on May 5, 2020, asking for the cash because the Seaway International Bridge has been hemorrhaging money during the pandemic amid sharp drops in toll revenue.
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“Due to the pandemic and the associated cross-border restrictions currently enforced between the United States and Canada, paid car and truck traffic on the Seaway International Bridge ... has dramatically decreased,” the officials wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily News.
The Trump Transportation officials suggested the bridge operators may need even more relief than $1.5 million because “it is too soon to fully estimate the impacts of bridge transit declines on annual revenues.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican who represents the upstate district covering the Seaway International Bridge, did not return a request for comment via a spokeswoman on what she thinks about the Senate GOP’s Twitter antics.
Republicans in Congress remain nearly unanimously opposed to Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan, which includes $1,400 stimulus checks for most Americans, renewed federal unemployment benefits and billions of dollars for coronavirus vaccination efforts, among other provisions.
Still, the House is expected to pass the package this Friday, passing it over to the Senate, where Democrats say they’ll approve in time for Biden to sign it before March 14, when unemployment aid and other critical pandemic relief pots dry up.
Republicans have built a cult of personality around Trump that glosses over his disgraced presidency .
As leading Republicans whitewash Trump's legacy and enable the personality cult surrounding him, it's also revealing deep fractures in the party. In a mid-February statement explaining why he was voting to convict Trump over the Capitol riot in the former president's Senate impeachment trial, GOP Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska warned about the dangers of "tribalism." Sasse was effectively calling out his Republican colleagues who were standing by Trump despite the damning, indisputable evidence against him on top of his relentless attacks on the foundations of America's democracy.