Mooney opposes new stimulus package; Justice says businesses need additional federal help

WASHINGTON, D.C. — West Virginia Second District Congressman Alex Mooney opposes the $3 trillion stimulus package being pushed by Democratic leadership in the U.S. House.

The bill was up for vote Friday.

U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va.

Mooney said the latest package connected to the pandemic would continue to drive up the nation’s debt while funding many things not directly associated with the crisis.

“We just can’t Christmas Tree these things up with what everybody wants for anything and everything,” Mooney said during an appearance Friday on MetroNews “Talkline.”

Mooney said his biggest problem is with the provision of the bill that would extend the additional $600-a-week unemployment benefits through next spring.

“Where folks make more money not working than working—to extend that all of the way through spring of 2021, for eight or nine more months. I think that would have a devastating impact on the economy,” Mooney said. “It’s not right to pay people not to work more than they would make if they did work.”

The agency that handles unemployment claims in West Virginia, WorkForce West Virginia, has paid out more than $551 million in unemployment claims in recent weeks, WorkForce acting Commissioner Scott Adkins said Friday during Gov. Jim Justice’s media briefing on the coronavirus.

Adkins said the state has paid out more than $310 million in the additional $600-a-week benefits to state residents who have lost their jobs.

Adkins said WorkForce is “keenly aware” they haven’t completed all of the claims.

Is additional stimulus needed?

Mooney said if additional stimulus is needed it probably should be focused on helping small businesses.

“The only thing I think we could look at again is small business support, medium-sized and big businesses too to help keep people on the payroll,” Mooney said.

Gov. Jim Justice

Gov. Justice, who criticized the House bill Friday, also said a lot of businesses have already suffered a fatal blow because of the pandemic and will need additional federal help.

“There are barriers that are standing in the way of the success and the economics of our businesses that absolutely will require, in my opinion, significant more participation from our federal government to get us through this,” Justice said.

U.S. Senate leaders have said the House package will be “dead on arrival” at the Senate.

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