March 28, 2020

Bernard Schoenburg: Duckworth calls $2.2 trillion bill a ‘down payment,’ Trump ‘incompetent’

Source: State Journal-Register


U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, of Hoffman Estates, was among senators who voted unanimously for the $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package. She thinks more will be needed, and is not happy with the way the health crisis has been handled by President Donald Trump.

“I think it was a good bill,” Duckworth said Thursday. But, for example, she said $100 billion in emergency funding for hospitals won’t cover all costs.

“That’s across the whole country, and that’s more (of) really a down payment.” She also said there’s not enough help for mass transit, or needed protection for people with rent or mortgage payments.

“I think that there is going to need to be a follow-up,” she said.

Asked about affordability of the package, she said there was not much of a choice. “If we don’t do this and we lose all these businesses, for example, there will be no economy to restart.”

Trump has expressed the desire to get America “opened up and raring to go by Easter.” He has also said he hopes different parts of the country can have fewer restrictions than others on social gatherings.

“I think he’s incompetent,” Duckworth said of the president when asked about that. “Thank God that decision is not up to him. It is the governors who decide, and the mayors. ... I’m very proud of the folks who have come out and really stepped up at a point in time when the Trump administration has failed so miserably in their response and in how seriously they took this pandemic. So I frankly don’t care what the president has to say at this point.”

Duckworth said she thinks Gov. JB Pritzker has “made some really, really tough decisions, and I’m very proud of our state. Our response has been much better than many other states.” She said she has been in almost daily contact with Pritzker and Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau, and said both have done “a remarkable job in a very tough time.”

She said she spent a recent day calling health care systems, in cities including Bloomington, Carbondale and Springfield, asking about issues like readiness for patients and availability of child care so nurses and doctors can go to work.

“It’s just amazing how folks came together to respond to this crisis,” she said.

By:  Bernard Schoenburg