Dems ‘want a blank check to fund their long-standing wish list’: Sen. Cotton

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Democrats “want a blank check to fund their long-standing wish list,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday regarding the stalled negotiations on Capitol Hill for the next coronavirus relief bill.

Host Brian Kilmeade noted on Tuesday that the Senate is back in session following the Labor Day weekend and pointed out that President Trump “is not optimistic of any type of rescue deal.” He then asked Cotton if he sees “any give?”

“It will really depend on whether the Democrats drop their unreasonable and outlandish demands,” Cotton said in response.

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“Back in the spring when we knew so little about this virus, how it would impact our health and our economy we passed $3 trillion in relief spending to help families and businesses get through the worst of the pandemic,” he continued.

“The Democrats now, even with all we know, even with cases declining, even with the economy reopening, even with record jobs reports for four straight months, want another $3 trillion.”

Cotton went on to say that Democrats “want a blank check to fund their long-standing wish list,” adding that “that’s not what we should do.”

“We should have a relief bill that is targeted and calibrated at those who need it most, in industries that still are very hard hit like the travel industry or the hospitality industry,” Cotton said.

“We should help those families that are still out of work maybe because their state hasn’t lifted their lockdown orders. We should help schools reopen or stay open in a safe and responsible fashion,” he continued.

“We shouldn’t just give Nancy Pelosi $3 trillion to fund a bunch of long-standing irrelevant wishes.”

Phase 4 coronavirus relief has stalled in the Senate as boosted unemployment benefits expired in July.

Senate Republicans unveiled the “HEALS ACT,” their version of a fresh round of coronavirus relief in July. HEALS stands for the package’s focus on Health, Economic Assistance, Liability protection and Schools.

The $1 trillion Republican bill is the alternative to the House’s HEROES act, the $3 trillion relief legislation passed in May.

Cotton said what Senate Republicans want to do is to give coronavirus relief “a more pinpoint accuracy to the places of greatest need for our families, our businesses and our communities.”

“In the end, the Democrats are also holding out for their holy grail, which is a no strings attached unconditional bailout for states and cities that have longstanding decades-old fiscal management problems and obviously we are not going to do that,” he said.

Last month, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox Business that the Trump administration is open to more coronavirus-related aid for states but not bailouts of “bad management.

“The president has rejected [bailouts] very steadily and consistently. This is not about bailing out pensions, it’s not about bailing bad management,” Kudlow told “Varney & Co.” in August. “However, we are not opposed to some assistance, federal assistance with respect, for example, to COVID-related equipment or construction or renovation, especially, I say this again, opening schools and opening businesses.”

House Democrats’ HEROES Act includes $915 billion in flexible aid to state and local governments, according to the Tax Foundation. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that figure was too much.

Fox Business’ Evie Fordham contributed to this report.

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