U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup: The reasons for opposing ARPA

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 31, 2023

The Ironton Tribune editorial board’s recent commentary (“On taking undue credit” July 26, 2023) on federal American Rescue Plan (ARPA) spending fails to mention the reasons that Republicans opposed it  – namely, that the amount of spending contained in the bill would cause inflation. Republicans warned in 2021 that passing massive unpaid-for spending would fuel an inflation crisis. 

ARPA, the $1.9 trillion so-called “pandemic relief” proposal that Democrats passed, did exactly that, with Americans seeing their cost-of-living last year rise to the highest rates in over 40 years. 

Although ARPA claimed to be a “COVID-19 relief” bill, over 90 percent of the bill’s spending provisions had nothing to do with the pandemic.  

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Unfortunately, this spending proved to be drastically more than the economy needed to recover from the pandemic, fueling inflation and a worker shortage. 

This is why I opposed President Biden’s stimulus slush fund. I firmly believe that instead, Congress should have pursued policies in 2021 that further re-opened our economy, ended school closures, and focused on defeating the COVID-19 virus. In doing so, we could have achieved a robust economic recovery without hurting families, fueling inflation, or ballooning our federal debt.

Finally, even when legislation passes that we as elected officials disagree with, we also have a duty to represent our constituents and your interests in Washington — that includes ensuring Southern Ohio gets its needed share of federal grants for the health and safety of our citizens. 

If we don’t, Ohio will be left with nothing as states like New York and California bring home billions.