Youngkin says Biden relief plan wasn't big enough after calling it 'unnecessary' in May


The GOP's nominee for Virginia governor has suddenly changed his mind about COVID-19 money.

Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin complained on Monday that President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan did not contain enough relief. A few months ago, he decried the package as not needed.

"COVID relief checks and child tax credit payments were important, but not enough. A larger portion of the American Rescue Plan Act should've been dedicated to real COVID relief and recovery, as I said in March," Youngkin tweeted. "We should use the budget surplus and ARPA stimulus funds to give more relief to families and invest in all Virginians for a better future."

But back in May, Youngkin argued that the American Rescue Plan was more than needed — not less.

"We in fact have unnecessary stimulus being pounded through our economy, both from a monetary standpoint, coupled with the fact that we have a lot of fiscal stimulus right now," Youngkin told a right-wing news site. "I mean we had a stimulus bill that in fact was cloaked in being a COVID stimulus bill, with virtually no COVID help in it."

This referenced a false but popular GOP talking point, which claimed that only $160 billion in the package went to "combating the virus," ignoring hundreds of billions that went to help states and localities address the pandemic.

Biden's popular package passed without a single Republican vote. In addition to providing $1,400 relief checks for most Americans and an expanded child tax credit for more than 90% of families with children, it delivered billions of dollars to cash for Virginia's state government and its cash-strapped localities.

Since its passage, Virginia's unemployment rate has dropped from 5.1% in March to 4.3% in July. The state's workforce jumped by tens of thousands of jobs over that time.

This has forced Youngkin, a former executive at a major investment firm with a history of helping to send jobs overseas, to change his entire economic rhetoric.

In March, he argued that the state's economy was stuck "in the ditch" and "businesses are leaving Virginia for our neighboring states. Enough."

By July, he was promising to "take Virginia from good to great."

On Saturday, the Washington Post editorial board warned that Youngkin's anti-tax plans "would run Virginia 'into a ditch.'"

The paper noted that Youngkin's criticism of the state are "flatly contradicted by a tsunami of evidence to the contrary."

In July, CNBC rated Virginia the nation's "Top State for Business."

Youngkin faces Democratic former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the November election.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.