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Politics Senate GOP pans Biden’s COVID relief plan by taking aim at N.Y. bridge cash sought by Trump

01:06  25 february  2021
01:06  25 february  2021 Source:   nydailynews.com

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Senate Republicans apparently aren’t big fans of Donald Trump’s government spending priorities.

Republican leaders in the Senate claimed in a tweet this 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Only problem is: The Trump administration — not Biden or congressional Democrats — originally made the $1.5 million request for the Seaway International Bridge, which borders with Canada.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 that a new Morning Consult poll shows 60% of registered GOP voters are supportive of Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan.

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A Senate GOP leadership aide did not return a request for comment.

a train crossing a bridge over a body of water: Traffic moves across the Seaway International Bridge that spans across the St. Lawrence River linking Massena, N.Y., and Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. © Mike Groll Traffic moves across the Seaway International Bridge that spans across the St. Lawrence River linking Massena, N.Y., and Cornwall, Ontario, Canada.

Traffic moves across the Seaway International Bridge that spans across the St. Lawrence River linking Massena, N.Y., and Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. (Mike Groll/)

The Senate GOP account’s Tuesday tweet 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.

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usr: 6
This is interesting!