ORLANDO, Fla. – Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., on Saturday told Fox News that Republicans must push back against a “Democrat wish list of socialist programs” in the $1.9 trillion stimulus package making its way through Congress — and predicted it wouldn’t get a single GOP vote.
Hagerty, speaking on the sidelines of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), said the stimulus package would “add even more debt to our children’s shoulders at the time we haven’t even spent close to a trillion of the last package.”
The enormous stimulus package passed the House early Saturday in a 219-212 vote. No House Republican voted for it, and two Democrats voted against it.
Republicans have pointed to an analysis that only 9 percent is for COVID relief. It also includes items such as $100 million for an underground rail project in Silicon Valley for which planning has been going on for several years but hasn’t yet broken ground.
“Really what this is, is a Democrat wish list of socialist programs, more than 90 percent of it, as I understand the analysis, is dealing with things having nothing to do with the pandemic,” Hagerty said.
The freshman Tennessee senator noted Democratic indications that they will try and use budget reconciliation to jam the bill through, and he said that it was up to Republicans to “push back at every point we can” and make sure extraneous items aren’t included.
“We’re going to be very attentive to make certain we’re doing everything we can to keep things out that we can,” he said.
He said his own threshold for a stimulus package is “whether or not, on a targeted basis, it is doing something to get our people innoculated, our kids back in school and our families back to work.”
“All these other things are superfluous. They should not be included under the guise of pandemic relief,” he said.
Hagerty spoke to Fox News a day before former President Donald Trump was scheduled to address CPAC. Hagerty praised Trump for having had an “unprecedented success” in helping the American middle class and said it was up to Republicans to keep that going.
“We’ve got to continue to stand strong to maintain the great momentum we had under President Trump,” he said. “President Trump’s administration set off a blue collar resurgence in our economy. Blue collar workers found themselves benefiting in terms of wage increases higher than white collar workers.”
He said the former administration’s successes included policies that encouraged energy independence, and a strong military and warned that Biden administration was rolling back much of that.
“They’re killing the Keystone XL pipeline project, prohibiting drilling on federal lands. What does that do? It moves us away from energy independence and moves us toward being dependent on countries that may not have our best interests at heart when it comes to energy,” he said.
He said while he isn’t against wind energy projects, he was against killing drilling jobs and said that many workers couldn’t get solar jobs because the panels are made in China.
“China is laughing all the way to the bank at our expense thanks to the short-sighted policies, and I think in many respects just a knee jerk reaction to killing the policies that were making America great under President Donald Trump,” he said.
Fox News’ Dom Calicchio and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.