SCOTTSVILLE – Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure package would be “the wrong direction” for the country.

McConnell spoke to the media Thursday at The Washington Center in Scottsville after he met with members of the Allen County-Scottsville Industrial Development Authority to discuss problems the local economy has been facing in the late stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

McConnell said there are two large economic problems moving forward for the nation: inflation and difficulty in getting people back to work.

Biden has been promoting a $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill called the American Jobs Plan.

“The price of everything is going up dramatically,” McConnell said. “That is because of too much money being dumped into our country. We have been so generous with our (increases) to employment insurance and the checks that we have been sending everybody that a great many Kentuckians and Americans look at the situation and find they are better off financially to stay at home than to go back to work.”

McConnell said the CARES Act passed in 2020 granted billions in COVID-19 relief that ultimately worked for Americans.

Since then, McConnell said Democrats have been passing relief bills that are “wildly out of sync.”

The new infrastructure bill is another point of contention for McConnell.

“We are having yet another debate about just how much is enough, and what I really think they are advocating is a revisitation of the 2017 tax bill,” McConnell said. “They want to revisit that and take us back to the highest corporate tax rates in the world, which creates the exportation of jobs.”

McConnell also touted the importance of vaccines during his comments. He used a football analogy in comparing the county to being “in the red zone” of vaccine administration but still being short of the end zone.

“There are a lot of people who still believe there are still some safety problem with (vaccines), which there isn’t,” McConnell said. “I think it’s important to continue to encourage people to get vaccinated, and let’s try to get this disease all the way totally into the end zone.”

McConnell was also asked about his previous comments in which he said “100%” of his focus is now being geared toward stopping the Biden administration.

The senator said he was once willing to do business with the new president, but Biden has not been moderate enough for his liking.

“He said he was going to be a moderate during the campaign, and I haven’t seen that yet,” McConnell said. “I know him very well. We did deals together when he was vice president. I like him, personally. He has just not done anything yet that could be characterized as moderate.”

The senator was also asked about his thoughts regarding former President Donald Trump calling him “gutless” and if he thinks U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney should remain in power as some Republicans urge her to be removed from her No. 3 House leadership position for her criticism of Trump’s claims about his 2020 election loss.

“What I’m focusing on is this new administration,” McConnell said. “I’m looking forward and not backward and unifying my troops and the Senate around reacting to where we are today and going forward.”

When asked for his opinion on when COVID-19 restrictions should be lifted in Kentucky, McConnell said the decision is up to Gov. Andy Beshear and that he has made a habit of not second-guessing the governor.

McConnell also said he would not support any police reform bills that do not keep qualified immunity for police officers.

“Being a police officer is a difficult job,” McConnell said. “You have to break up fights, you have to be physical, and it’s challenging. I think qualified immunity for police officers needs to continue because without it I don’t know how we get anybody to be a police officer.”

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

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