Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden’s .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March MORE (R-Miss.) on Wednesday applauded a portion of the American Rescue Plan that provides relief for restaurants after he voted against the COVID-19 relief bill as a whole.
Wicker in a tweet celebrated that Congress approved a $28.6 billion grant program for the restaurant and bar industry as part of the $1.9 trillion relief bill. He and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) proposed an amendment including the funding.
In a tweet, the senator said that “independent restaurant operators have won $28.6 billion worth of targeted relief” through the passage of the American Rescue Plan.
“This funding will ensure small businesses can survive the pandemic by helping to adapt their operations and keep their employees on the payroll,” Wicker added.
Independent restaurant operators have won $28.6 billion worth of targeted relief.
This funding will ensure small businesses can survive the pandemic by helping to adapt their operations and keep their employees on the payroll.https://t.co/Ob4pRb9Xh4
— Senator Roger Wicker (@SenatorWicker) March 10, 2021
The amendment from Wicker and Sinema intends to establish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund that gives debt-free support to businesses in the industry and covers eligible expenses such as payroll, mortgage, rent and utilities.
But Wicker received widespread criticism for his tweet, with people accusing him of taking credit when he was one of the 49 Republican senators who voted against the COVID-19 relief package, which passed the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Saturday.
The senator told reporters when asked about his vote against the bill, “One good provision in a $1.9. trillion bill doesn’t mean I have to vote for the whole thing.”
When asked whether he was taking credit for something he opposed, he answered, “I was for that bill, introduced that bill, long, long before this legislation.”
“I think it’s an entirely consistent position,” he added.
An aide to Wicker told The Hill that the Mississippi senator has previously backed targeted relief for restaurants but that he “was not able to support $2 trillion in poorly targeted spending as was proposed by congressional Democrats.”
“He will continue working to advance targeted relief for restaurants and other groups that have been hit hard by the pandemic,” the aide said.
Leaders of the Independent Restaurant Coalition and the National Restaurant Association praised the Mississippi senator, along with Sinema, for proposing the amendment in statements released after the relief package passed the House.
Among those condemning Wicker for his tweet was Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime HarrisonJaime HarrisonDNC beefs up its finance team Costco raising minimum wage to an hour New Democratic Party chief announces top hires MORE, who said the senator had “no damn shame.”
“Seriously?” Harrison wrote. “Seriously?! Y’all have no damn shame! Senator, YOU voted against the bill! Sorry, but that dog won’t hunt!”
Seriously? Seriously?! Y’all have no damn shame!
Senator, YOU voted against the bill!
— Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair (@harrisonjaime) March 10, 2021
The American Rescue Plan will head to President BidenJoe BidenDNC beefs up its finance team Pentagon extends National Guard presence at Capitol through May 23 Blinken to appear before Foreign Affairs Committee MORE’s desk after passing the Senate and House with no Republican support.
Earlier this week, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBoebert fundraises off viral hashtag: ‘I’m not going anywhere’ Democrats spar over COVID-19 vaccine strategy Pelosi says GOP will vote against COVID-19 relief and then take credit for it MORE (D-Calif.) predicted that Republican lawmakers would vote against the COVID-19 relief bill and then take credit for it.
“I might say for our Republican colleagues who — they say no to the vote, and they show up at the ribbon-cuttings or the presentations,” she said.
“That’s unfortunate,” she added. “As I said, they’ll take some credit for it in their districts.”