Shortly after the coronavirus relief bill received final approval in Congress, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) proudly pointed to a provision he co-sponsored that will provide nearly $29 billion to independent restaurant operators.
“This funding will ensure small businesses can survive the pandemic by helping to adapt their operations and keep their employees on the payroll,” Wicker tweeted Wednesday.
But Wicker, like every other Republican in Congress, did not vote for the bill. Asked why he opposed the bill if the money for restaurants was important, an exasperated Wicker said, “One good provision in a $1.9 trillion bill doesn’t mean I have to vote for the whole thing.”
Wicker’s tortuous justification reflects the difficulty Republicans are having in finding a message to counter the popularity of the legislation. By the time next year’s elections are in full swing, Republicans say they hope the law’s popularity will have diminished and that it will be seen as less about addressing the pandemic and more as a backdoor way by the Democrats to expand government.