Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin wrote in Friday’s Washington Post:
With 14.7 percent unemployment and state and local governments on the verge of more layoffs, Senate and House Republicans are urging Trump to oppose relief that would keep hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, public hospital nurses and doctors, teachers and other essential workers on payroll. A group of bizarrely tone-deaf conservatives in the House — including … Ben Cline (R-Va.) … — wrote to Trump pleading with him not to send money to their cash-strapped states and cities. The voters … should know that their representatives are happy to see even more of them unemployed (although Republicans happily supported $500 billion for large corporations).
Senator Tim Kaine correctly called this approach “pure evil.”
Virginia taxpayers should not be forced to bail out Speaker Pelosi’s buddies in historically mismanaged states like California, Illinois, and New York. Instead, we should continue working toward bipartisan solutions, as we did with the CARES Act, that help families, small businesses, and those working on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.
You may notice that the three states mentioned by Cline have Democratic governors and Democratic-controlled legislatures. (Mismanagement is not unknown in “red states” either.) Of course they are not the only those states that face critical revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19. Plenty of other states and localities– including Virginia and here in Cline’s own Sixth District– are looking at fiscal emergencies when it comes to providing essential services and paying the workers who help keep us safe and healthy.
While Cline was urging Trump to tell state and local governments and their employees to “drop dead,” he revealed his priorities by signing another letter to the President insisting that fossil fuel companies get a share of federal bailout money.
According to The Washington Post:
Republican members of Congress are coming to the defense of oil, gas and coal companies they say face “discriminatory” lending practices from Wall Street banks that have caved to pressure from environmentalists.
They are worried that oil and gas companies, suffering from the economic shockwaves of the coronavirus pandemic, are not getting their fair share of $2 trillion in stimulus funding because many of the big banks playing a part in distributing the funds have policies against lending to certain fossil fuel projects.
In a letter sent late last week to President Trump, three dozen lawmakers urged the administration to take action against big banks that have decided to limit such lending.
They specifically point to a decision by BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, to limit its investment in the coal power business and make managing for sustainability and climate risk a key part of its investing strategy. The firm, along with other big banks, is playing a key role in distributing stimulus funds under the CARES Act.
Rather hysterically, the letter claims: “As every sector of our economy struggles to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and seeks financial stability from the federal government, environmental extremists are using the pandemic to accelerate their goal of putting America’s energy jobs in the grave.”
What makes Cline’s signature on this letter strange is that– unlike most of the other signatories– he represents a district with no oil, gas or coal production. There are, however, a number of solar energy companies– in Fincastle, Madison Heights, Waynesboro, Staunton, Roanoke and Lynchburg— that actually provide jobs to his constituents.