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GOP Assembly asks Evers to prioritize coronavirus spending

Empower Wisconsin | April 7, 2020

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers is about to have $1.9 billion at his disposal. The Republican-led Legislature would like the Democrat to focus his spending on what Wisconsin really needs to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a letter to Evers sent Sunday, the Assembly GOP offers a list of priorities for spending the stimulus money delivered under the federal CARES Act. The governor, thanks to urgency of the pandemic, does not need legislative approval to spend the federal cash.

But Republican lawmakers would like to see the liberal governor practice some constraint. After Evers earlier unveiled his $700-million coronavirus spending packed with liberal policy initiatives (many that had nothing to do with the health crisis), Republicans are more than likely barking up the wrong tree.

“Because of the seriousness of this pandemic, we believe in the importance of setting aside partisan differences and working together. We hope you believe the same,” the letter, from Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and the rest of his caucus us states.

Caucus members hasten to point out that because of the financial toll the pandemic will have on the economy, it’s important that the administration be as mindful as possible in its spending decisions.

“Considerations like tax increases or other economically detrimental policies cannot and should not be an option,” the letter states.

The letter asks the governor to set the following priorities:

  • Needs of hospitals and healthcare facilities
  • Safeguards for business owners and workers
  • Assistance to local governments

Assembly Republicans also expressed their strong opposition to classifying abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, as an “essential service.”

“Considering the federal government has provided guidance shutting down all elective procedures in our hospitals to conserve precious resources and PPE, it is unconscionable that you would allow these facilities to continue to operate.” The letter insists that no federal stimulus money go directly or indirectly to abortion providers.

Elective surgeries, medical procedures scheduled in advance and deemed “non-essential,” include everything from cosmetic changes to knee replacements. 

“Why is there a debate at all when the facts so clearly point to stopping all elective procedures immediately?” Kathleen Bartholomew, an author and nursing safety advocate in Washington state, recently told USA Today. “Many health care practitioners are still practicing with an antiquated hierarchy mindset where surgeons hold all the power, despite the fact that research has shown that only working as a team will keep our patients safe.”

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