West Virginia’s Republican governor and Democratic senator are on two different sides of the pandemic relief debate — but not necessarily the sides you’d expect.
Gov. Jim Justice (R) spent the past four years as a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, and leads a state that voted for Republicans two to one in its 2020 statewide elections. But in a Monday interview with CNN, Justice not only recommitted to working with President Biden; he voiced support for a position even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) won’t take.
While Justice would like senators on both sides of the aisle to come together on COVID-19 relief, he indicated support for Biden’s $1.9 trillion bill over Republicans’ more conservative option. It’s not worth “trying to be … fiscally conservative at this point in time,” Justice told CNN’s Poppy Harlow, saying that “if we actually throw away some money right now, so what? We have really got to move and get people taken care of.”
**Republican** Governor of West Virginia @WVGovernor to me on Stimulus: “Trying to be per se fiscally responsible at this point in time with what we’ve got going on in the country, if we actually throw away some money right now, so what?” Has he talked to @Sen_JoeManchin? I ask. pic.twitter.com/s93QMWze3m
— Poppy Harlow (@PoppyHarlowCNN) February 1, 2021
Manchin has meanwhile called for a more targeted relief bill that only extends stimulus checks to Americans who aren’t getting paychecks.
Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) also made it clear Sunday that he supports the Democrats’ bill. Montana voted for Trump over Biden by about 16 points in November, and also declined to elect former Gov. Steve Bullock (D) to replace its Republican senator. But despite his precarious position, Tester affirmed he doesn’t think $1.9 trillion is “too much money” right now.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) on the coming COVID relief bill vote: “I don’t think $1.9 trillion, even though it is a boatload of money, is too much money. I think now is not the time to starve the economy …” pic.twitter.com/XGyNOdUehk
— The Recount (@therecount) January 31, 2021