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Senator Shelley Moore Capito Calls ‘Build Back Better’ Bill ‘Reckless’ During Wheeling Stop

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, right, speaks with veteran Michael Shook and his sons Eli and Noah during a veterans celebration event Wednesday outside Bethlehem Elementary School. (Photo by Joselyn King)

BETHLEHEM — The “Build Back Better” federal social spending bill needs to be better and less costly before U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito will back it.

Capito, R-W.Va., expressed her thoughts on the $1.75 trillion legislation while in Bethlehem Wednesday for a “Girls Rise Up” event at Bethlehem Elementary School.

“Honestly, I think that bill is just a reckless taxing and spending bill,” she said. “It is way over the top. It’s $550 billion for green energy — which I think are wish list kinds of things that will damage our workforce and our industries. It’s too much.”

America has already spent $6 trillion on the American Rescue Plan to help the nation recover from the economic effects of COVID, and Congress should pause to see how that investment is doing, Capito suggested.

“It was just announced that our inflation is going way up, and that’s because we are flooding so much money,” she said. “We need to sit back, wait, and define the need. If we need more money for child care or pre-K, we can look at that, but let’s not rush this through.

“I cannot support this bill.”

The needs of the country and the effects of the legislation were not taken into account, Capito said.

“We all want clean air and clean water,” Capito said. “We are a fossil energy-rich state. But there are ways through research, development and innovation to capture carbon on coal, on natural gas.

“It is the baseline fuel of our energy sector, our chemical sector, our plastics sector. We can’t turn our backs on this, and we shouldn’t.”

Much of the research on carbon capture is happening at West Virginia University and elsewhere in West Virginia, she continued.

“I don’t think we should be making policies that are going to harm the economic fabric of certain areas in this country,” Capito said. “If we’re transitioning, let’s transition. But let’s not drop people over a ledge, which is what has happened in the past. …

“I think this is an attempt at satisfying a base of the Democratic Party, and I don’t think that’s where America is.”

Capito acknowledged child care, home health care and senior care are all valid issues addressed in the bill.

“I don’t know what is going to happen,” she said. “I think it’s going to have to be reworked. You see our own senator (Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.) trying to make it better. We’ll see if that can be done.

“The real problem is you see progressives on one side. Then you have more fiscally responsible folks saying we have to quit spending so much, and we have to see where we are.”

Capito was among 19 Republican senators voting for the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package recently passed by Congress. As ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, she was involved with crafting some of the key components of the bill.

“Yes, we can get things done. But we are polarized, unfortunately. The ends of our parties — the far left and the far right — are just pulling us apart. It has become a tougher environment.

“But I want people to have confidence. We did get this big bill done. It’s a win for the president. It’s a win for Congress. It’s a win for West Virginia. It’s a win for Wheeling. It’s a win for the country. We should celebrate our wins when we get together.”

During her “Girls Rise Up” events, encourages leadership skills in elementary school girls by speaking of the importance of education, physical fitness and confidence in achievement.

She said when she was their age in 1963, and a 10-year-old student at Glen Dale Elementary School, she was very shy. Her teachers would often write on her report cards that she needed to speak up more and become more involved.

Capito told the girls she is the only female senator ever from West Virginia, and that there is one state who has never had female representation in Congress.

“Vermont has never elected a woman to Congress,” Capito told the girls. “However, they do have (Sen.) Bernie Sanders.”

While the girl students met with Capito, boy students were in another room getting lessons in hygiene, explained Principal Stacy Dietz. She said the boys were given the opportunity to attend the Capito event, but none signed up to participate.

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