WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) issued the following statement after Saturday morning’s vote opposing the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion spending bill:
“Good economic news combined with the good-faith bipartisan efforts that nine of my Republican colleagues and I undertook to craft a responsible alternative to this partisan bill leave me deeply disappointed about the process that brought us to this final outcome. This is not what is best for our country and it did not have to be this way.
“When President Biden spoke of unity during his inaugural address, my Republican colleagues and I took his message to heart and crafted a responsible, targeted COVID-19 stimulus package like we had done five times previously to address the crisis and ensure that taxpayer money was used effectively. We targeted funding toward meeting the health care and economic needs of the American people, rather than to unnecessary spending and programs entirely unrelated to COVID-19.
"However, our proposal was rejected time and time again.
“In addition, while only about half of the last $900 billion COVID-19 relief package enacted in December has been spent, Democrats passed a $1.9 trillion package today, the second-largest appropriation ever written by Congress, on a completely partisan vote. Neither the president nor congressional Democrats took any of our ideas on how to tailor it to those most in need. As a result, not a single Republican voted for this bill in the House or Senate.
“America’s economy is improving. The economy added 379,000 jobs in February and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said recently that without any additional stimulus the economy will recover to pre-pandemic levels by mid-year. This makes it even more troubling that Democrats have passed this partisan and expensive bill, which even one of their own prominent economists warned could cause inflation and undermine our economic recovery going forward.
“Our focus needs to be on policies that address the most immediate health care needs while incentivizing a return to work so our economy continues to improve. While I am pleased the Senate adopted my amendment to responsibly extend enhanced unemployment insurance benefits in a bipartisan fashion, I am disappointed that it was not included in the final bill.
"The American people deserve better than this bill and better than this process. We worked together five times on bipartisan COVID-19 relief packages and we should have been able to do so again. Doing so can begin to fulfill the promise our new president set out on inauguration day.”