WA Rep. Larsen: COVID relief package isn’t perfect, but it’s still necessary

Mar 11, 2021, 12:00 PM

COVID relief...

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer finalizing the latest COVID relief package. (Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

With President Biden signing his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package into law Thursday, Washington Rep. Rick Larsen spoke to the bill’s impact, pointing out how despite its imperfections, it’s also an important step for the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.

The bill includes $1,400 stimulus payments for roughly 90% of American households, an additional $300 a week for unemployment benefits, an expansion of a child tax credit, and hundreds of billions of dollars to cities and counties across the country.

While it’s far from a perfect piece of legislation, Rep. Larsen lauded its larger impact.

“I can’t say I’m happy with everything in this bill, but I am certainly very pleased with us going big and going bold, because it is still necessary,” he told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show.

Ross: The bill Republicans find even more terrifying than COVID relief

As Jason asked, though, wouldn’t simply reopening the economy right away make it so we wouldn’t need to pass the stimulus package in the first place?

“No, because the bookend choices you’re giving me aren’t true choices,” Rep. Larsen answered. “No scientist that I’m aware of says it is currently safe to fully reopen the economy tomorrow or the next day. But the reason that the relief package exists is so that we can safely reopen and gradually reopen while we’re vaccinating.”

In the months to come, Larsen believes relief dollars won’t be needed nearly as much, especially as businesses are gradually able to reopen once cases and hospitalizations have trended down sufficiently.

Because of that, he predicts that this latest package will likely be the last large-scale COVID relief package Congress passes.

“I do think it will probably be the last large COVID relief bill that we do — we’re going to be moving on to recovery soon,” he said.

President Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks on the package at 5 p.m. on Thursday, where he’s expected to lay out the next phases of the nation’s response efforts.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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WA Rep. Larsen: COVID relief package isn’t perfect, but it’s still necessary