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Republican senator tries to take credit for measure in Covid relief bill – despite having voted against it

‘You can have your cake and eat it too, apparently,’ Colorado representative Steven Woodrow says

Louise Hall
Thursday 11 March 2021 13:35

A Republican senator has faced criticism after touting certain measures from Joe Biden’s $1.9trn (£1.4trn) coronavirus relief bill despite having voted against it in Congress.

Republican Senator Roger Wicker lauded the bill’s $29bn ($20.5bn) grant provisions for the hard-hit restaurant industry on Wednesday, tweeting it would help them “survive the pandemic”

“Independent restaurant operators have won $28.6 billion worth of targeted relief,” Senator Roger Wicker celebrated in the tweet.

“This funding will ensure small businesses can survive the pandemic by helping to adapt their operations and keep their employees on the payroll,” he added.

The senator did not mention in the tweet that he had voted against the legislation, with a number of commenters swiftly pointing out the detail in criticism.

“You voted against it,” one person said while another argued that the lifeline had come “with NO thanks you and every Republican.”

Colorado representative Steven Woodrow said: “Restaurants where you can have your cake and eat it too, apparently.”

“Why did you vote against this? Sorry, you don’t get to take a victory lap due to something you opposed,” one user asked.

In defence of the comments, Mr Wicker told reporters: “I’m not going to vote for $1.9trn just because it has a couple of good provisions.”

The $28.6bn restaurant and bar grant program included in the American Rescue Plan is modeled after the RESTAURANT's Act which intended to help restaurants proposed by the Independent Restaurant Commission (IRC) in April 2020.

In another tweet, the senator called the provision the “one bright spot from this week’s budget package”, which was approved along party lines on Wednesday.

In a post on Twitter, the IRC said that they appreciated the comments calling out Mr Wicker for not voting in favour of the package.

“You are right, Senator Wicker did not vote for the package (we wish all members did!)”, they said.

However, they added that “his work on the RESTAURANT's Act from the beginning made the relief fund possible,” adding that they “are grateful for that work.”

Republicans in both chambers opposed the legislation unanimously and this week and Democrats predicted that Republicans would take credit for the measures despite voting against the bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “It’s typical that they will vote no and take the dough.”

The House of Representatives passed the final version of Joe Biden’s signature Covid relief legislation and sent the landmark $1.9trn package to the president’s desk.

The bill entitled the “American Rescue Plan” includes $400bn (£286bn) to directly combat coronavirus and accelerate vaccinations.

Additionally, the bill features unemployment benefits and other financial assistance for those impacted by the Covid-19 crisis including stimulus checks of up to $1,400 (£1,000).

The White House has touted the Covid-relief legislation as “the most progressive piece of legislation in history.”

Additional reporting by the Associated Press