Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) is opposed to President Donald J. Trump’s request for Congress to significantly increase the amount of direct stimulus payments to the American people.
Trump on Sunday signed into law the Fiscal Year 2021 omnibus appropriations package that had an additional, approximately $900 billion COVID-19 relief package attached to it. The legislation included payments of $600 to most adult Americans ($1,200 for most married couples), as well as additional monies for dependent children.
However, Trump has vocalized his wish that those payments be increased to $2,000 for adults ($4,000 for couples). The House of Representatives on Monday is set to vote on separate legislation that would authorize this increase, and Trump has stated that the Senate will consider the measure, as well.
“As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child,” Trump reiterated in a Sunday statement. He also vowed, “Much more money is coming. I will never give up my fight for the American people!”
Brooks on Monday morning interviewed on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends.” He was first asked about some of the “wasteful spending” that Trump wanted taken out of the appropriations package, as well as the president’s support of the increased direct relief payments.
“Unfortunately, we have a lot of debt junkies in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill, both in the House and in the Senate,” Brooks lamented. “So I would imagine that anything that spends more money, these folks are going to pass. That’s just the nature of the beast here on Capitol Hill. In the Senate chamber [and] the House chamber, the majority of members are debt junkies.”
“The problem that we have to face at some point is we’ve got a $27 trillion debt, and virtually all of this money that’s being spent — in this bill that was just passed that the president signed last night — is borrowed. It’s money we don’t have, we have to borrow to get, we can’t afford to pay back,” he continued. “So at some point in time, we’re going to have to have some financial responsibility, rather than continue to rely on increasing the debt of the average American citizen.”
The host then asked directly if Brooks would support “the president’s call to increase the checks from $600 to $2,000.”
“Someone’s got to show me how we’re going to pay for it,” Brooks responded. “I mean, how far before we ultimately go into a debilitating, insolvent bankruptcy that’s going to do great damage to our country and do more damage, in fact, than COVID-19 ever could have done?”
The congressman added, “I don’t think people understand what happens when a central government goes bankrupt, but it’s not pretty. It’s dangerous. You can go down the list of countries that have gone through that process — Venezuela right now being a glaring example. We don’t want to go there, but that’s exactly where Congress is going, because we don’t have enough congressman and senators with the courage to say ‘no’ or to be financially responsible.”
Brooks also said that increasing relief payments to Americans “continues to bail out these economically devastating decisions by mayors and governors around the United States who have shut down their economies intentionally.”
“The United States has never in its history handled a pandemic this way, yet this is what we’re doing to ourselves, and long term it’s very bad,” he concluded.
It should be noted that a large portion of the “wasteful spending” domestically that Trump identified is actually regular annual appropriations benefiting Alabama, especially Brooks’ district, related to critical national defense and security priorities.
The spending package signed into law Sunday by Trump was passed by the House in two separate votes. One vote was on the portion of the bill for the appropriations for some federal departments including Commerce, Justice, Defense, Treasury, and Homeland Security, and some federal components including the White House and the District of Columbia. No member of Alabama’s House delegation voted against this portion. However, Brooks voted against the other portion of the legislation, which contained appropriations for the remainder of the federal government as well as coronavirus stimulus and relief and many other miscellaneous provisions.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn