Senator Shelley Moore Capito Already a ‘No’ Vote on $1.9T COVID-19 Relief Bill

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As the debate began in the United States Senate over the Democrats’ COVID-19 relief bill, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito already has made up her mind. She’s against it.

Capito, R-W.Va. held a virtual press conference with state reporters Thursday from Washington, D.C.

On top of the COVID-19 stimulus package, Capito also discussed the murders in a Clarksburg VA hospital, schools reopening, immigration and President Joe Biden’s nominations of Janet McCabe as deputy director of the Environmental Protection Agency and Brenda Mallory to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

The stimulus package is making headlines, as it passed through the House and has made its way to the Senate, albeit without the $15-an-hour minimum wage request and with a narrowed field of Americans eligible for $1,400 relief checks.

Even with those concessions, Capito said she will not support the $1.9 trillion package. About $1 trillion has nothing to do with the health aspects of the virus, she said.

“Way, way too much spending” that is not targeted where it would do the most good, she said.

She supports the unemployment and individual aid aspects of the bill and for schools, but $80 billion for schools from the last package has yet to be spent, Capito said. It is so massive, amendments to make the bill more appealing to Republicans won’t be enough, she said.

“I will be voting no,” she said.

She believes that a killer could have been found sooner in the Clarksburg VA hospital had there been security footage. The absence of cameras hindered the investigation into the murders at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center, Capito said.

Federal authorities investigated the deaths of veterans at the facility, all of whom were patients on the same floor and died in similar circumstances — hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar — caused by the unprescribed injection of insulin.

Reta Mays, 46, of Clarksburg, a nursing assistant on floor 3A, pleaded guilty in July to seven counts of second-degree murder and one count of assault to commit murder and sentencing is scheduled in May in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg.

A reason the investigation took so long was the lack of security footage that could have pinpointed who the perpetrator was, Capito said.

Capito and Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mike Braun of Indiana, John Boozman of Arkansas and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have introduced a bill requiring the secretary of Veterans Affairs to report on the use of security cameras in VA medical centers. Similar legislation was presented in the House of Representatives by West Virginia congressmen Dave McKinley, Carol Miller and Alex Mooney.

Other hospitals have such safeguards, Capito said.

“I think we ought to have that” in VA facilities, too, Capito said.

Climate change is real and solutions are needed, Capito said, yet past policies have hurt West Virginia. She doesn’t want to see Obama administration policies bolstered, and both McCabe and Mallory served in the Obama administration.

“(D)on’t drop us on our heads like you did in the Obama administration where we still are reeling from some of the economic results of that,” Capito said.

The administration change in immigration policy has created another border crisis with Mexico, Capito said. Border crossings have increased by 45 percent, including by drug-smuggling mules and particularly unaccompanied children, she said.

Biden reversed the previous administration’s rule to expel unaccompanied children. The country is on track to accept more than 117,000 unaccompanied children under 18 years old, Capito said.

“It’s obvious to me the word is out. It’s time to re-enter the United States because what the president has put forward is not a deterrent any longer,” Capito said.


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