Late Thursday morning, members of the House of Representatives were waiting for the final text of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill to help America through the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Though Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher would not give a full analysis of the bill until he saw it, he said that America’s top priority needs to be focusing first on the lifesaving work of health care in stopping coronavirus as the priority – a belief shared by prominent members of both the Democratic (like Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers) and Republican parties.
“Defeat the disease as quickly as possible. That’s the best way for our economy to recover,” said Gallagher to WTMJ’s Steve Scaffidi on Wednesday.
“We need to prioritize defeating the disease prior to just mitigating the effects of it on our economy…until we get a handle on the disease…there simply aren’t enough federal dollars available to keep the economy shut down for another month.”
He says there would be no easy answers, as funding and resources first need to focus on “the front lines, the hospitals.”
“Testing has been suboptimal at best, a disaster in some cases,” said Gallagher.
“Without testing, you don’t have data. Without data, you don’t have intelligence…there aren’t enough resources, there aren’t enough checks the federal government can cut to fix that problem.”
Then, in terms of economic stimulus, the big focus on the economy needs to be on small business.
“We need to think small. Think about the small banks, the small businesses who really got penalized,” said Gallagher.
“If the government is forcing your business to shut down, you are entitled to just compensation.”
He also gave criticism to the blanket approach of giving every American making under $75,000 per year a certain amount of money.
“Cutting a check to every American, even below $75,000 a year, that’s not a targeted approach. Some people may have their jobs evaporate…some people may be able to work and don’t need a check for the federal government.”
He was critical of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for what he said she was doing in adding other funding pieces to the bill, along with particular requirements in certain industries to receive the money.