Tom Cotton July 21, 2020: Senator Cotton Speaks to KARN 102.9 News Radio
You can tell uh kevin whenever he gets back that i have a good phone connection. This week, for you, unlike my phone connection for him last week, well i’ll, let him know that i’m a little higher on the totem pole than he is right now. Absolutely so senator one of the things that uh that our kansas are thinking about this week is that unemployment stimulus is coming to an end uh. Where do you think we are economically in the recovery and what should the government’s next steps be for the country? As far as stimulus well certainly a lot better than where we were in late march, when we passed the major legislation that increased unemployment payments and also provided direct checks to so many arkansas families, but we’re not through this pandemic by any means we’ve seen case numbers. Pretty steadily go up, fortunately, deaths and hospitalizations are not going up in an equal rate. I think that reflects that younger people now um are making up the bulk of the cases that we’re identifying many cases earlier and that our great doctors and hospitals have developed more effective treatment. Regimens as we’ve learned more about the virus over these last four months. I believe, over the next three weeks, the congress should pass legislation that will continue to provide support to those who need it most to include those who are unemployed now, the 600 a month nationwide increase that we passed back in march was an emergency measure designed to Get cash quickly into the hands of the millions of americans who lost their job.
I think we should take a more tailored regional or even state specific approach, which is the way the unemployment system typically works, to ensure that people who still can’t go back to work, especially in the most affected industries. Things like sports and entertainment, restaurants, hotels, airlines and so forth can put food on the table and can put a hat a roof over their kids heads at night. But what we don’t want to do is discourage people from working who can be working. The unemployment system has never been designed for complete wage replacement, so i suspect, will extend at some level the enhanced unemployment payments uh, not at the single nationwide rate at six hundred dollars a week, but at some level to ensure that those people who need the help Most will be getting the help. Likewise, i expect will provide a lot more flexibility on some of the money that hasn’t been spent. Yet from the legislation we passed back in march right. You know i’ve spoken with governor hutchinson and we still have unexpended funds in arkansas that he needs more flexibility. So he and the legislature can distribute those funds in ways that are most necessary and we might have differences within arkansas. You know little rock may be different from dardanelle and certainly arkansas would be different from say, maine or wisconsin and how they need to use that money, and also we could take a look at how we’re supporting some of those businesses that have essentially been shut down By state and local governments as preventive measures again, many businesses are back up and running at something close to normal, but a handful of industries because of their nature, such as bars or concert halls or movie theaters, who provide thousands of jobs to hard working, arkansans.
Um probably need to get some more help as well, so those are the things that that we’ll be focusing on in the next three weeks, as we all deal with the continuing economic fallout from this plague that china unleashed on the world. We’Re talking with senator tom cotton and senator, how did you feel about governor hutchinson putting a mask ordinance in place for arkansas? Did you feel that it was necessary for our state um? I think that anytime, you can’t keep your distance, especially when indoors. The prudent thing to do is to wear a mask that’s my policy. If i i try to keep my distance from folks, if i can’t, i wear a mask whenever i’m out and about, i think the governor took a prudent step in asking all our candidates to wear it. I think he also took a prudent step, though, and saying that we’re not going to detain or arrest anyone for violating this ordinance i’ve seen on social medias. A lot of folks have seen some pretty disturbing and disappointing videos of americans not acting in a kindly and neighborly way towards each other. I wouldn’t want to see that happen in our state. I wouldn’t want to put our law enforcement professionals across the state in the position of actually having to arrest someone who forgot a mask or forgot to put one on. So i think the governor took an appropriate kind of interim step to ensure that law enforcement was not put in a difficult position, but to encourage all arkansans to wear a mask to look out for all of our fellow citizens, we’re visiting with senator tom cotton.
This morning and uh, senator representative john lewis passed away the other day and you were tweeting about how he helped you and french hill write legislation for the central high school national historic site. What was that process like and how did representative lewis help you guys out? Well, well, first, just let me uh say that john lewis uh exhibited incredible courage and bravery um as a young man when he stood up against racist segregationist leaders in the american south in the 60s facing physical violence imprisonment of his own later in life. As a congressman, we served together for two years. Of course, we didn’t see eye to eye on every issue um, but he continued to exhibit that kind of courage and bravery and willingness not just to work with republicans but to try to build bridges. You know he could be tough and partisan on the campaign trail or in tv or other media appearances, but when the cameras are off, he was a kind decent and friendly man, and that legislation on which we worked is a good example. We wanted to bring more property into the little rock central historic site, and john lewis was instrumental in getting the democrats in the house of representatives and even some in the senate to support that that’s. The kind of measure that’s not necessarily controversial, but with so many other big and controversial measures on the agenda. Sometimes it can be hard to find time on the congressional calendar to take things that may seem small in the grand scheme of things we’re very important to our local communities in arkansas, and i think, for historic purposes are very important as well.
It’S. Just one example of how, despite so much of the partisan rhetoric you see on tv, there are actually many feel good stories kind of behind the scenes that produce good news for our citizens.