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Congressional response to COVID-19 a ‘partisan charade,’ says Wagner


Efforts to assist Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic have gone from a collaborative effort across the aisle to a “partisan charade,” according to U.S. Congresswoman Ann Wagner.  

Wagner, a Republican representing Missouri’s second congressional district, appeared on “This Week in Missouri Politics” Sunday to discuss the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Congress as well as Missouri’s testing capabilities. The conversation ranged from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stimulus plans to the responsibility of the Chinese government in the spread of the virus and the global fallout it caused.

The congresswoman discussed the multiple layers of legislation and funding already passed out of the House with bipartisan support before explaining what she called the “Nancy Pelosi $3 trillion socialist wishlist,” an additional sum of money on top of what has already been distributed.

Wagner, the second highest-ranked Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, talked about China’s controversial response to the pandemic and the consequences the U.S. and the world now faced. She also mentioned a proposed bill that would create a compensation fund by seizing assets held by China in the U.S. rather than suing the government for compensation. 

“We need to get compensation for this,” Wagner said. “We have lost tens of thousands of lives here in the United States of America … plus the economic toll that this has taken has been devastating for all of us here in America.”

Final Week of Session

This week’s panel included consultant David Barklage and Mark Dalton, political director for the Carpenters Union. The panel discussed the end of Missouri’s legislative session, including changes to Clean Missouri, which would ban lobbyist gifts altogether as well as make changes to the way districts are drawn, contingent upon voter approval. 

Both guests said that the Clean Missouri revisions were handled poorly by the body and that the ballot measures would likely fail. The conversation covered the partisanship behind the legislation and redistricting as well as the concentration of the parties in the House. 

“I think this creates the potential for gerrymandering,” Barklage said. 

Conversation also turned to the PDMP bill that passed the House, the responses of the minority leadership at the end of session, and the president’s handling of COVID-19.

“He fumbled the ball on a lot of different things, but he has a base of supporters that it doesn’t matter what he does, they’re gonna end up coming back to him,” Dalton said.   

For more on the COVID-19 response and the end of session, check out the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below.  

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.