Sullivan Announces Opposition to Democrats COVID “Relief” Package

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) voted against proceeding to consideration of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the COVID-19 relief package proposed by the Biden administration and congressional Democrats. Sullivan also announced his opposition to the bill, which is being considered through the budget reconciliation process, which allows Senate Democrats to advance the legislation without meaningful bipartisan cooperation. The bill totals $1.9 trillion, a majority of which funds a wish-list of partisan policies unrelated to the pandemic or economic recovery.

Since March 2020, Congress has passed five COVID-19 relief bills, all with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate and House, totaling roughly $4 trillion—by far the largest federal response to a crisis in American history. The most recent of these laws, passed in December of 2020, provided $900 billion in relief. There is still over $1 trillion from these bills that has yet to be spent.

“It is disappointing that, after gaining power, the Biden administration and congressional Democrats have chosen to break the mold of bipartisanship used to pass previous COVID relief legislation and are instead advancing this bill without any bipartisan input,” said Senator Sullivan. “There is no doubt that this bill contains some significant provisions that will help Alaskans, such as funding for struggling individuals and communities, the university system, and additional relief for Alaska’s tourism industry. But too much of this bill has nothing to do with pandemic relief. In fact, only a small fraction of the money being proposed will contribute to vaccinations and public health initiatives.

“The effects of this pandemic aren’t just hurting Republican states or Democratic states. That’s why we need input and compromise from both sides of the aisle and representatives from all parts of the country—especially when it comes to a bill with a nearly $2 trillion price tag. I cannot in good conscience vote for a bill that largely ignores the input and unique needs of Alaskans.

“I have every interest in finding solutions—including working with the Biden administration—that will help Alaskans keep their jobs and put our economy back on track. But nothing would help Alaskans more than for President Biden to call a cease-fire on the unrelenting assault his administration has waged on our state’s economy since he took office. The Biden administration’s war on Alaska’s working families, especially those in the energy sector, needs to stop.”

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