Jim Justice, a G.O.P. Governor, on Why Biden Needs to ‘Go Big’ on Covid Aid
Democrats would succeed in passing a major economic rescue package, a boost this week from an unexpected source: Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia, a Republican. Mr Justice said in a back-to-back interview with CNN and MSNBC on Monday that Congress should “go big” and not worry about the federal deficit.
Or, as the governor put it in his signature style: “We must count the legs sucking eggs on the cows and count the cows and just walk.” (Hard translation: stop nit-picking about the details and pass a bill.)
Indirectly, Mr. Justice’s comments were the sharp rebuke of a Democrat, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin III, who was deliberating with GOP colleagues about a small relief package that sent checks to fewer Americans And used to spend less on the government.
Probably because of Mr. Justice’s offending, Mr. Mnuchin, the Senate’s most conservative Democrat, It was agreed on Tuesday To vote with his party to advance President Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package using budget reconciliation, a process that would allow the bill to eventually pass by a simple majority. Mr. Manchin said Wednesday that the $ 1.9 trillion price tag would be acceptable if the bill contained some bipartisan input.
Has also been in the national news for West Virginia Its success in taking out the coronavirus vaccines. It takes all the states in percentage of the population, 4 percent, That has received both shots.
In an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, Mr. Justice, discussing a coal family and allegedly the richest man in West Virginia, told Donald J. Discussed their loyalty and incitements to Trump, were they Mr. Manchin in 2024. The interview is lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Speaking about the stimulus package in Congress, you said, “If we throw some money now, what?” It doesn’t sound very Republican.
We need to leave thinking first and foremost, “What’s the right Republican or right Democrat thing?” I have been a business person all my life, and I know that when you have a real problem, you cannot cut your way out of the problem. Many times we try to dilute everything and do not fund it properly.
If we are wasting a few dollars and it has boosted the economy, and it has helped all those people who were out, as we can, that is really hurting a lot, then are we trying to compare Can’t I get much better, just mix the size of the shoe with the foot and keep the size of the shoe in a place where you could not even walk?
I’d totally rather give someone a pair of shoes that were slightly larger than a pair of shoes that were too small to put on their feet.
Have you talked to Senator Manchin so that he can see your point?
Not me. Everyone knows well what my thoughts are. I have expressed the need for this nation to be bold and grow up.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican senator from West Virginia, was part of a GOP group offering a $ 1,000 check instead of a $ 1,400 check to talk with President Biden about a much smaller stimulus plan. What do you think about that situation?
I’m just going back to the exact same thing, and this is: at the end of the day, if we do it a little too much, one downside risk is less. If we go through this, the downside risk is greatly increased.
You are term-limited as governor. Are you thinking about running for Senate in 2024?
No, I really am not. My makeup is not one in 100 and trying to go through a decision process and everything. You know, I’m a CEO. If I can continue to do good stuff for West Virginia, I’m going to do it, and then maybe shut down at sunset.
About 11 percent of all West Virginians received their first dose of vaccine, more than any state except Alaska. West Virginia Said A few days ago it became the first state to complete the second round of vaccinations to all residents of nursing homes. What advice do you have for other governors?
What we have done in West Virginia is recruited and brought in all of us. We brought in our local pharmacies, our local clinics and we put our National Guard to work. I said that we are not going to put our vaccines on the shelf, we are going to give them to the people.
This is the ultimate gospel: last week we were in people’s arms 108.1 percent [leveraging extra doses from vials] The vaccines we have received – our first round of supplements. And 70 percent of our second round dose. And we’ve done that week after week after week. In the last three or four weeks, every dose that has come to West Virginia is in someone’s hand the following Sunday night.
We are the third oldest state with the most chronic diseases. We can do the same thing in any state of the country if people will play the drama we have developed, because it is a real drama and it is working.
Derrick Evans was a Republican member of the state legislature Was charged 6. After the storm in the Capitol on January. He resigned from his seat. Did Donald Trump incite rebellion?
I really don’t think so. I think the impeachment stuff going on is shameful.
You know, I think really and truly we need to respect all the good things that the Trump administration did. There was definitely a time when, you know, Donald was boisterous in his comments, but he is just Donald Trump. This is just his personality.
I know the Trump family. I know them very well. There is no chance on God’s earth that they have done anything with the crowds of our nation’s capitol.
Under the Trump administration, coal production remained steady but low. In 2019, production was Lowest since 1978 And the US got more energy from renewable energy than coal. How do you rate Trump’s campaign promises to bring coal back, especially in West Virginia?
I am a real believer that we should embrace alternative energy. You know, in the last two weeks, I welcomed a windmill business in West Virginia with an investment of $ 200 million.
But at the same time, it is useless for us to think that today our nation can move forward without coal or without gas. There will be a day when we transition away from fossil fuels. But I clearly do not believe it is now. And I do not believe it is for decades. this is Useful over decades. But in the immediate future, it is not sure.
President Biden reacquired the Paris Climate Agreement and would eventually go on to restore Obama-era regulations on vehicles and power plants. On top of that, GM announced that it would Stage all gas powered cars By 2035. Can West Virginia support any part of the administration’s climate agenda?
The great thing about West Virginia today is the lowest percentage of our revenue from the tax on coal and gas that it has in the last 25 years, and yet West Virginia is doing very well. Because we have diversified in many directions.
You know, tourism is exploding. High Tech is exploding. Some manufacturing. Higher version. Virgin Hyperloop On th eway For West Virginia. West Virginia has a lot of exciting things.