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DeFazio: Economic relief package must prioritize workers

Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio is weighing in on the effort to get a coronavirus relief bill through congress.

Posted: Mar 24, 2020 10:26 AM
Updated: Mar 24, 2020 10:48 AM

EUGENE, Ore. – Congressman Peter DeFazio is weighing in on the effort to get a coronavirus relief package through congress.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been working with congress to pass a roughly $2 trillion economic package, which would include direct payments to taxpayers. But those efforts stalled due to objections from Democrats Monday over accountability and process.

DeFazio, a Democrat, said he opposed the package and will oppose anything that looks similar to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) of 2008, which was seen as a bailout for big businesses on Wall Street.

“We want to target aid to the workers. The people who make the corporations great. The people who make the businesses great,” DeFazio said.

DeFazio also said he agrees with Gov. Kate Brown’s stay at home order issued Monday.

He warned the order may be necessary until Oregon increases its coronavirus testing ability and increases its medical supply.

“Oregon's running out of masks,” DeFazio said. “We've been waiting now. We've had a shipment en route supposedly from the so-called national stockpile for ten days. We’ve gotten ten percent of what we needed and fifteen percent has been somewhere for ten days,” DeFazio said.

DeFazio also warned that people need to stay at home as much as possible, even if it hurts small businesses in the short-term.

“If people prematurely have returned to daily life.. for a little while it might help the economy, until a whole bunch of people get sick and the hospitals are overwhelmed,” DeFazio said.

As of Tuesday morning, top negotiators signaled that a bipartisan deal on a stimulus package to respond to the coronavirus crisis is imminent with all signs pointing to an agreement being locked in and approved by both chambers of Congress later in the day.

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