ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WIS) - Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) says the Republican proposed coronavirus stimulus bill is “grossly inadequate” and there is other stuff in there “the House won’t agree to.”
In an interview with WIS, Clyburn said “Democrats are exactly where the people are” on when talking about the HEROES Act, the Democratic-led stimulus COVID-19 relief bill the House passed in May.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) disagrees and on the Senate floor said the Democrats positions “are not the positions of people who are putting the common good above politics.”
Comments from Clyburn, McConnell, and President Trump appear to indicate the two sides are far from coming to an agreement.
"The rest of it, we're so far apart, we really don't care," President Trump said Tuesday morning about bill negotiations.
Clyburn said the GOP bill falls short by only calling for $1 trillion dollars in relief rather than the $2 or $3 trillion price tag of the HEROES Act.
The House Whip also argued the Senate plan doesn’t include any money for state and local governments and questioned why there was funding in the bill for a new government building in Washington.
“Why do we need to spend $2 billion for a new FBI building when people need to get back to work,” Clyburn asked.
McConnell has also expressed opposition to allocating $1.75 billion for a new FBI building in the bill.
Clyburn became passionate when discussing the people in his district he says he is trying to help with this latest piece of legislation.
“I came to Congress to do one thing, and that is to make the greatness of this country accessible and affordable for all its citizens,” he said.
One of the measures the high-ranking Democrat wants to see in South Carolina is more effort to expand broadband access across the state.
“It’s a shame for us to say, ‘South Carolinians if you got the internet in your home your children can get the education that they need and go on to the next grade, but if you don’t you aren’t going to be able to go to the next grade’” he said.
He said South Carolina needs to spend “whatever it takes” to have broadband available statewide. And argued this is not about race, it’s about helping workers in the Palmetto State
“Just look at who lives in rural South Carolina. There are more white people living in rural South Carolina than Black people. So, this isn’t about color. This about servicing the people who live, who plant the crops…people who want to say in their homes and their communities and make their homes and communities connected,” Clyburn explained.
South Carolina lawmakers and Governor McMaster have expressed support for expanding broadband access in SC and allocated money from the CARES act to do so.
Clyburn also addressed absentee voting and said he is calling on state legislators to pass a law that would make it easier for voters to vote absentee at home.
He said voting should be easier not just during a pandemic but moving forward.
“It should be forever, not just this coming November. The fact that we have this pandemic, we ask people to stay at home, we ought to make it available for them to vote from home,” he said. “So all you have to do is send them the application so that people can deposit them anywhere they want to. I’m not advocating for 100 percent vote by mail, what I’m saying is give everybody their ballot, send it to them in the mail. A lot of them don’t want to put it back in the mail. A lot of them want to go someplace and put back their ballot,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler has advocated for state lawmakers to return before September to address legislation related to November’s general election. Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler said, “Our goal will be to protect the safety of the voter AND the vote. We should be able to accomplish that in September.”