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PolitiFact Wisconsin on claims about $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief legislation

Posted at 5:45 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 18:46:00-05

Republicans have complained that most of the nearly $ 2 trillion in stimulus spending is not for COVID-19 relief. PolitiFact Wisconsin looks at that claim and another one by a state Democrat about the state's unemployment insurance failures.

Wisconsin Republicans in Congress, including U.S. Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, have opposed the $1.9 trillion stimulus package known as the American Rescue plan.

"He (Rep. Fitzgerald) says 91% of the spending is not pandemic relief related," said Eric Litke with PolitiFact Wisconsin.

PolitiFact Wisconsin says 22% of the bill is for the $1,400 per person stimulus checks, 13% for additional unemployment funding, and 27% to states, local governments and schools to make up for losses related to the pandemic.

"Overall, one nonpartisan organization says about 85% of the funding is going to pandemic relief," said Litke, "that means 15% is indeed going to essentially pork projects, things that are not directly related to this crisis."

Pork projects include a bridge connecting New York to Canada and an underground rail project in California.

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated Fitzgerald's claim Mostly False.

The blame game in Madison is still in play around the failures with the state's unemployment insurance system.

"Amid debate on the plans to upgrade that system, Democratic state Rep. Gordon Hintz accused Republicans of 'trying to create a fake unemployment insurance crisis,'" said Litke.

PolitiFact Wisconsin says the unemployment insurance crisis was very real. They included a backlog of complaints from tens of thousands of people waiting months for their benefits.

"We saw the head of the workforce development agency resign over his agency's failures," said Litke, "in short, there's plenty of blame to go around, but there is nothing here that is a fake crisis."

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated Hintz's claim False.

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