McCarthy urges support to reopen schools, expresses concern over proposed $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke one-on-one with 17 News Friday, touching on a wide array of local and national issues.

During a virtual conversation with 17’s Eytan Wallace, the Bakersfield Congressman said he is focused on several matters, but is especially placing his attention and support behind the effort to return students to in-person instruction.

“We’re coming on the one-year time frame. More than three million kids have not been in school,” he said. “I believe the science says we can return to schools. There are billions of dollars we have passed to help districts do this,” McCarthy continued.

When asked about teachers who may feel nervous to go back to school until all teachers can be vaccinated, McCarthy said he “would like the teachers to be vaccinated. What’s difficult here is how poorly California has done by getting the vaccinations out.

McCarthy also addressed the proposed $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, arguing it offers little relief and is filled with funding for non-COVID-related projects including more than $100 million allocated for Bay Area Rapid Transit.

“This is what’s wrong with this bill. It’s not being focused on for those who need the help. I refer to it as a Pelosi payoff, he said. Asked whether he would support another roundof stimulus checks, he said he “would no, especially the way they’re handing them out. You know what I would like to do? Open the economy. Give people a job instead of a check.”

Looking ahead, McCarthy said he hopes to work with Pres. Joe Biden on issues pertinent to the Central Valley.

“I would work on any issue that Pres. Biden wants to bring up. Whether I support it or not … I will sit down, and I will work with anyone who wants to work on an issue for the Valley — water, energy — but unfortunately, the president hasn’t met with us. We sent him letters, phone calls…but I would like to sit down with the president on any issue.”

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