HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – Congressman Brett Guthrie spoke with Eyewitness News Jake Boswell about a number of major issues in Washington and Kentucky. The Congressman was asked about what the best stimulus option is for Kentuckian, what needs to be done with the U.S. Postal Service, and schools reopening in the best way.
Jake Boswell: Congressman, our first question for you is about the relief package that has been discussed in Congress the last few weeks and still no agreement. In your opinion, whether it’s the HEALS act or not, what does th stimulus look like, the best stimulus we could have right now? And when do you think that needs to be implemented?
Brett Guthrie: Well, we’re currently in a stalemate and and it’s frustrating that we all flew back to Washington DC on Saturday to vote on a bill that’s going to go nowhere on the post office when mail is flowing mail is going to happen. There is really no question that people’s ballots are going to be counted. And we shouldn’t be working on this. And the biggest issue is I think that it should look like his assistance to small businesses. When we pass the cares act in in March. We really believe that it was going to be a more short short term virus like it would behave a coronavirus The flu virus is a Corona virus. So we thought COVID-19 what I like MERS at age one in one, it was a legitimate belief that we could shelter in place we could shut down, we could spend a month or 30 days or so and then be back to normal. But this virus doesn’t behave like the others. And it’s it stayed throughout the summer is going to be here through the fall. And so a package needs to I believe, needs to focus on making sure our small businesses who have been greatly affected by this who put people back to work, are supported through probably a lesser PPP, a payroll Protection Program, then bigger businesses had the chance to have that in the past. So it should be truly small Mom and Pop mainstream businesses that are truly hurting. But I think that’s where we need to focus on keeping our employers in place so they can pay their employees and keep people on the payroll.
JB: You brought up the post office in the house passing that bill over the weekend. The Postal Service bill would give the USPS $25 billion and your colleague in Congress and the US
Top Republican in the Oversight Committee James Comer yesterday has called this discussion a political stunt. He said the President does not support the bill. The Postal Service does not support the bill and the Senate will likely not take up the bill. You voted no, whenever the bill was on the House floor. Why do you think the bill is not something that needs to pass?
BG: Well, here’s the course of the post office has $14 billion cash on hand. So giving them $25 billion today does not have anything to do or affect the election at all, at all. And so what the Postmaster General wants to update the post office. We have members on the other side of the aisle that spent an enormous amount of time talking about what we’re all concerned about, is veterans can’t get their medicines because they’re being delayed and what has happened. What was reacting to is the Postmaster General in June has seen because of COVID an enormous increase in packaging as packages come in through the post office far more than envelope mail or standard mail. So what they were doing is taking out mail sorting lines for envelopes that are being used and replace them
The package sorting lines, as I’m sure somebody in the post office was tweeting and sending out comments that all they’re taking down the dismantling the post office, they weren’t this mailing the post office, they were trying to make the capacity better for packages, which is what people get for their, their medicines. And so it somehow became viral. If people had either didn’t do their homework, or they just wanted to present a situation. That’s not true. In Kentucky. Every single person who requests about it will know whether or not they get it from the post office, and they need to request it in time to mail it back in. And you can check with your county clerk to make sure your your ballot was received. So there is no reason that someone in Kentucky can track whether they received they’ll know they’ll know by receiving if they receive their ballot and whether the ballot was received. And so it was I think I agree with US Congressman Comer who spends a lot of time on this. We have to modernize the post office. The post office has said we’re going to stop
Any any innovation and keep it like it is until after the election just so the appearance of goes away.
JB: Congressman today, in your district and around Kentucky, thousands of students are returning to the classroom. Some of them virtually some of them not the governor gave the recommendation for all schools to go virtual through the end of September, just about what do you think about that decision? Do you think that the federal government needs to play a larger role and some of the guidelines set for going back to school?
BG: Well, the federal government, the CDC does set the guidelines for how you maintain a safe environment. And so that’s the government should put the guidelines and then the local school districts. I know that I live in Warren County, Warren County and Bowling Green are both going back to school this week. When the governor put out the statewide mandate on September 4, September 28. I said, if you’re not safe next week, you’re not going to be safe until we get a vaccine. It’s a communicable disease. It’s gonna cases are going to spread what I say we have to manage to our homes, our hospitals. Our hospitals have the capacity to treat cases. And that’s, that’s what we need to monitor. And so we’re going to, think we’re going to have a vaccine sometime in the fall hopefully sooner rather than later, maybe October, November. We’re currently manufacturing vaccines as we speak. So if they’re approved, we could have up to 100 million doses by the first of next year. And so I think that’s when we get back to a new normal. So if you’re gonna prevent people from going to school and other things, first of all, we we want to do it safely. And I can tell you, I know personally, the superintendence in my hometown in my community, and they want every child to be safe, and they think they can they believe they can do it safely, or they wouldn’t be attending school. And so some of the other schools might have led now that not every some schools aren’t meeting, the ones who meet later, can take lessons learned and figure out what other schools have done right and maybe didn’t do so. Right. But if you’re wanting to have schools meet
Without any cases ever coming up, you need to wait to there’s a vaccine and so schools are choosing to to wait too long. Some are waiting till October, May June is going to help people we’re going to wait till the first of the year. That’s that’s when a vaccine I think it’s going to be no, I think we’re gonna have a vaccine in the fall. But by the time we have enough people inoculated with the vaccine for to make a difference after the first of the year.