FACT CHECK: Did Glenn Youngkin Call COVID-19 Relief ‘Unnecessary’ In A May 12 Interview?

Ryan King | Contributor

A campaign ad sponsored by Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe claims Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin called COVID-19 relief “unnecessary” in a May 12 interview.

Verdict: Misleading

While Youngkin did appear to refer to certain funding allocations in the American Rescue Plan and monetary stimulus as “unnecessary” in the May 12 interview, he did not call COVID-19 relief as a whole “unnecessary.” He has previously expressed support for COVID-19 relief measures such as direct stimulus payments to Americans and child tax credits.

Fact Check:

The ad in question alleges Youngkin “called COVID relief ‘unnecessary'” in a May 12 interview with the Daily Caller. However, Youngkin’s comment from the interview, conducted by sister organization Daily Caller News Foundation’s Samantha Renck, appears to have been misconstrued.

When asked in the interview about the April jobs report and governors opting out of federal unemployment benefits, Youngkin said the following:

I think one of the biggest challenges we have coming out of Washington, and let me just back up and put a bigger picture around it for a minute if I can, which is 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. We had a stimulus bill that, in fact, was cloaked in being a COVID stimulus bill with virtually no COVID health in it and a lot of handouts and spending to states that were poorly run, to bankrupt entities like the pension plans in states that are poorly run and payouts to teacher unions. And the bottom line is that what that’s causing is a flash-in-the-pan economic recovery, not a durable one.

He goes on to state that he thinks a “durable” economic recovery is “based on free enterprise, it’s based on businesses growing and hiring people, and expanding the workforce” and that “we also see inflation creeping in,” according to the video.  (RELATED: Did Joe Biden Visit Ralph Northam Before Northam Tested Positive For COVID-19?)

While Youngkin did express criticism in the interview about how some funding in the American Rescue Plan was allocated, it is misleading to characterize his comment as calling COVID-19 relief as a whole “unnecessary stimulus.” He used the phrase “unnecessary stimulus” in reference to monetary stimulus, which is a central bank action such as lowering interest rates or purchasing securities, and fiscal stimulus, which, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, occurs when the federal government “increases spending, cuts taxes, or both” to promote economic growth.

In the context of the remark, Youngkin appears to be referring to certain funding allocations within the American Rescue Plan rather than COVID-19 relief altogether. For example, he criticizes the money allocated in the American Rescue Plan for multi-employer pension plans and state and local government budget aid. In the comment, Youngkin also seems to criticize the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, a review of the interview found.

Youngkin has expressed support for COVID-19 relief measures in the past. In one Aug. 8 tweet, he voiced support for direct COVID-19 relief checks and child tax credits in the American Rescue Plan but said “more of the bill should have been dedicated to real COVID relief, instead of forcing Virginia taxpayers to bail out other states & cities like San Francisco.” He said in an Aug. 2 tweet that “COVID relief checks and child tax credit payments were important, but not enough” and that “a larger portion of the American Rescue Plan should’ve been dedicated to real COVID relief and recovery.”

In March, Youngkin said in an interview with local radio station WCHV that there were “some elements” of the American Rescue Plan such as the direct payments to Americans that “are really helpful” but criticized other parts that he perceived to be unnecessary. He called the direct aid allocated to some local and state governments “bailouts to blue states” in the radio station interview, for instance.

In a Fox Business interview in March, he said, “The COVID spending bill had very little COVID in it and a lot of spending, and a lot of spending going to poorly run states, and a lot of money going to bail out bad decisions made historically.” Check Your Fact has debunked the claim that only 9 percent of the American Rescue Plan goes to the American people, and other fact-checkers have addressed allegations that only 9 percent goes to COVID-19.

“Terry McAuliffe is lying about Glenn Youngkin’s strong support for COVID relief, including PPP loans for small businesses and tax credits and direct checks for families,” Youngkin campaign spokesperson Christian Martinez said in an emailed statement to Check Your Fact when asked about the campaign ad. “What Youngkin criticized was Nancy Pelosi’s unnecessary spending on things that had nothing to do with COVID, like her San Francisco bailout. Youngkin repeatedly and publicly pushed for a larger portion of the federal American Rescue Plan to go toward helping Americans and businesses affected by COVID, and he also proposed his own plan to provide tax refunds to Virginians.”

Check Your Fact reached out to McAuliffe’s campaign for comment and will update this article if a response is provided.

Ryan King

Contributor

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