News and Commentary

Senator Barrasso: ‘Schumer And Pelosi’ Have ‘Slowed Down’ Helping America To Get Their Wishlist Met

   DailyWire.com
Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming and chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, questions witnesses during a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. The hearing is entitled Infrastructure Project Streamlining and Efficiency: Achieving Faster, Better and Cheaper Results.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday that Democratic leaders House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) have “slowed down” the federal government’s ability to get Americans financial help during the coronavirus crisis.

Barrasso made the remarks in response to Bartiromo asking him about the Paycheck Protection Program, which ran out of money last week after Senate Democrats refused to replenish it.

“There are small businesses and paychecks needing to be gotten taken care of,” Barrasso said. “There are people who are still applying for these loans. I see it in Wyoming. It’s been very successful, $350 billion already spent. It’s helped 15 million Americans stay on the payroll.”

“The money — we had a vote Friday, and the Democrats blocked it. The money in that program is really paychecks for hardworking Americans, people who work for small businesses, which is over half of all Americans,” Barrasso continued. “I heard earlier on the news that Mnuchin and Schumer and Pelosi are working on a deal. Every Republican is going to want to scrutinize that, because we know that, when Schumer and Pelosi are involved, we know they slowed down the CARES Act because they wanted their wish list included.”

Barrasso, who is a medical doctor, said that the country needed to get the economy back open but needed to do so “using science” and using precise metrics to track coronavirus cases across the United States.

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: President Trump is laying out a three-phase plan to reopen the economy.

My next guest’s state has been much more impacted economically than health-wise in his state, because of the shutdowns and what it has done to the energy sector, tourism and agriculture.

Joining me right now is Republican Conference chairman, member of the White House Task Force on Reopening the Economy, Wyoming Senator John Barrasso.

Senator, it’s great to see you. Thanks very much for being here.

(CROSSTALK)

BARTIROMO: You are a medical doctor, so you clearly understand the health risks.

Are you worried that you’re going to be opening the economy too soon, and we get a relapse? And tell us about the impacts that Wyoming has seen from coronavirus.

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): Well, it is time to reopen America, to do it in a smart way, following the metrics, using science. But we need to get Americans back to work.

Everyone in this country has been impacted by coronavirus, some more from the medical standpoint, others more from the economic standpoint.

In Wyoming, for one, we have been very fortunate in terms of the disease. But the economy has been flattened, energy, agriculture, tourism, all of those things.

And as an example of how we can start opening the country, we have a county in Wyoming, Maria, it is larger geographically than the entire state of New Jersey. So the sizes are so vast out here.

And in that county, there have only been nine people who have tested positive. None have been hospitalized. The businesses have been shut for a month. The hospital itself is on life support because patients aren’t coming in for elective procedures.

This is an area of the country and the economy that can be opened, using the criteria, watching all of the science. These are the people and the jobs, Maria, that I’m fighting for.

BARTIROMO: Yes. I mean, Wyoming is an energy state. You’re looking at rig counts that have gone down. Already, we have a bankruptcy in the shale sector. So we may very well see more bankruptcies there because of that.

What about the money and the stimulus going toward it? Are you going to have a vote on Monday about an additional $250 billion that’s going to go into that Paycheck Program?

BARRASSO: Well, I sure hope so.

The money — we had a vote Friday, and the Democrats blocked it. The money in that program is really paychecks for hardworking Americans, people who work for small businesses, which is over half of all Americans.

I heard earlier on the news that Mnuchin and Schumer and Pelosi are working on a deal. Every Republican is going to want to scrutinize that, because we know that, when Schumer and Pelosi are involved, we know they slowed down the CARES Act because they wanted their wish list included.

So I know members of our conference are going to want to take a scrutinizing look at what is in this agreement.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

BARRASSO: What we really need to do is put more money in the Paycheck Protection Program.

BARTIROMO: Right.

BARRASSO: That’s the one right now, Maria, that’s run out of money.

BARTIROMO: Hold on. Hold on, Senator. I want to talk about that. This is an important issue that you’re getting to.

We will take a break, come back with that.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

We are back with Senator John Barrasso.

And, Senator, you were going through the Paycheck Protection Program. You say it needs more money. It’s run out of money, right?

BARRASSO: It ran out Thursday.

There are small businesses and paychecks needing to be gotten taken care of. There are people who are still applying for these loans. I see it in Wyoming. It’s been very successful, $350 billion already spent. It’s helped 15 million Americans stay on the payroll.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

BARRASSO: There’s probably another 10 million who would be able to stay on the job.

And we need these businesses to be able to be ready to be open when it’s felt safe to do so. And that’s why, as a member of the president’s task force…

BARTIROMO: Sure.

BARRASSO: … I have been saying, we need to do it scientifically, but we need to start now.

BARTIROMO: You have also been talking about certain industries that might be able to open in a reopening.

We know it’s going to be slow and a rolling open. So which industries do you believe can start getting going right now and opening?

BARRASSO: Well, you can start construction right away, energy, agriculture. In certain office settings, you can do those sorts of things.

So there are a number of places. You are going to still need to do all of the issues of handwashing, social distancing, taking care of our most vulnerable. But we need to start opening the areas where it’s safe to do it.

And there are lots of places, counties like the one I described in Wyoming. There are counties like that all over the country. And that’s why it’s important to have governors involved, have people at the local level involved. That’s the way we can start slowly opening.

There may be some bump up in new cases when that happens.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

BARRASSO: You need to make sure the hospitals have testing capacity and ICU capacity to take care of those people.

BARTIROMO: Sure.

BARRASSO: But that’s why we can, I think, slowly go phase one, phase two, phase three, and then a fully reopened economy.

BARTIROMO: Senator, our viewers know that I was the one who broke the story on the test failures. We didn’t have enough testing.

The CDC sends out the tests, and they have to call the governors back and say, don’t use the tests, they are defective.

What happened? They were actually looking — studying the coronavirus in the same lab as the lab that they were making the tests? How come there’s such a disaster around these tests?

BARRASSO: This is a permanent black eye for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

They have failed us here. There’s a front-page story in The Washington Post today and in newspapers all around the country about the failures.

BARTIROMO: OK.

BARRASSO: Centers for Disease Control, they sent it to 100 labs. None of them worked.

And we have been — we have lost about a month in testing because of their failures.

BARTIROMO: Because of that.

Senator, thank you. Thank you so much for everything.