Exclusive — Rep. Ted Budd: Best Stimulus Is Not Partisan Coronavirus Bill, ‘It’s Opening the Economy’

Matthew Perdie, Jack Knudsen

ORLANDO, Florida — Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) railed against the partisan $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill, the Senate version of which passed the House Wednesday, providing his remarks in an interview with Breitbart News during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Budd pointed to the reconciliation procedure Democrats are using to pass items in the coronavirus relief bill, for which no Republican in the House or Senate voted, that are unrelated to immediate coronavirus relief while avoiding the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster.

“They’re using this, and they’re going to stuff as many things in there because they realize that they’ve got the thinnest majority in the House that they’ve had since the 1930s and they’ve got a break-even Senate with the tiebreaker as the vice president,” Budd explained. “So they have to stuff as many things as they can into a bill like this because they know it won’t get over the 60-vote threshold. When you look at the coronavirus funding from last Congress, $4 trillion … it was very bipartisan, some of these things that I supported, real coronavirus relief. … In an ideal setting you don’t like that stuff, but for that COVID [coronavirus] crisis early on, we needed it. It was a great bill. We got together, Republicans and Democrats. This is completely partisan. Ninety-one percent of this bill is nothing to do with COVID relief.”

Congressional Republicans have been outspoken in their opposition to the bill. Freshman Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) told Breitbart News at CPAC that Democrats “wanted to get their wish list out of” the bill and “didn’t want to let a crisis go to waste.” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), likewise at CPAC, ripped the bill as wasteful, saying Americans want to “get back to normal”  and not “spend another two trillion dollars on a bunch of ridiculous things that aren’t directly related to dealing with the virus itself.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called the bill a “laundry list of left-wing priorities” on Fox News on Tuesday.

Budd cited items packed into the massive spending haul, including New York’s Seaway International Bridge — a priority for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — and a Silicon Valley transit extension.

“You want to reopen the economy? You want to get schools open? You want to get people vaccinated? I’m all for that,” he said. “But at the same time, if you want to have Chuck Schumer’s bridge, the Seaway Bridge to Canada, you want to have a BART tunnel. … What’s that got to do with COVID? Nothing at all.”

Schumer on Wednesday praised the bill, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, as “big, bold, urgent COVID relief.”

Budd argued however that “the best stimulus is not this COVID bill they’re proposing. It’s opening the economy.”

The North Carolina congressman, who is also a gun store owner, said during the interview that he is mulling a bid for Senate in the Tar Heel State to replace outgoing Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and contended House Democrats “are making it easy for us to win in 2022 but really painful up until then.”

On his plans for a potential Senate race, he said he wants “to take a look at that,” adding he is in talks with family about the decision. “We’ll know more soon,” he said.

Write to Ashley Oliver at aoliver@breitbart.com.

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