Kentucky governor criticizes president, GOP for backing off new stimulus package

Gov. Beshear provides Tuesday update on COVID-19

FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Gov. Andy Beshear responded critically Tuesday to news President Donald Trump stopped negotiations for another COVID-19 stimulus aid package, one Beshear said Americans need “desperately.”

“If they can’t sit down and agree to a package that helps Kentuckians and helps Americans during this, then shame on them,” Beshear said. “I don’t even see the Senate engage in the negotiations. Shame on them too.”

According to AP, many GOP aides had been privately dismissive of the prospects for a deal.

Those prospects dwindled after the president tweeted Tuesday he had instructed his representatives “to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business.”

Trump tweeted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “not negotiating in good faith” and said he’s asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to direct all his focus before the election into confirming his U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

Biden responded in tweet Tuesday evening: “Make no mistake: if you are out of work, if your business is closed, if your child’s school is shut down, if you are seeing layoffs in your community, Donald Trump decided today that none of that matters to him.”

The stimulus bill might have included another round of checks sent out directly to households, according to Beshear, as well as more unemployment aid, money for schools with students returning to in-person learning and aid to state and local governments.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned earlier Tuesday the economic recovery remains fragile. Not enough additional stimulus, he said, “would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses.”

Beshear cited Powell’s comments as he admonished the president and congressional leaders Tuesday.

“This is their job, and basically, it’s them saying they’re not going to do their job because of politics, because of an election coming up,” the governor said.

“It’s your job in a pandemic to put aside the politics and to sit down and to stop being Democrats and Republicans and to get something done.”

Beshear also had this to say about Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis:

“I wish him and everyone who has COVID a good, speedy recovery and hopefully no lingering effects, which we have seen in some people. I don’t want that to be questioned. My faith tells me regardless of what you think of someone, you always want the very best for their health and their family’s health.”

COVID in Kentucky

Monday, Beshear and Health Commissioner Steve Stack, MD, issued stern warnings on a case escalation in Kentucky, the state’s third since the onset of the pandemic.

Kentucky reported 1,054 newly confirmed cases and four deaths Tuesday. Find the full Tuesday report here.

Beshear announced he had renewed Kentucky’s mask mandate an additional 30 days, citing White House guidance that masks should be worn indoors and in all public settings.

The same White House guidance advises against gathering in groups.

Beshear also said the state would step up enforcement of mask compliance in businesses across the state, possibly resulting in fines or enforced closures.

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