'People In Hell Want Ice Water Too': Sen. Kennedy Opposes Bailouts For Local And State Governments

May 8, 2020

Update Saturday, May 9. 5:00 a.m.: A representative of Sen. Kennedy is disputing The Hill's report. She said the senator made the statement in question about various bills for state and local funding, not stimulus checks.  The Hill later updated its story to say there had been a "misunderstanding about the question."  WWNO/WRKF has changed its headline and story to reflect that. 

Few states are facing a tougher economic climate than Louisiana, which has been devastated by both the coronavirus pandemic and a plummeting oil market.

But despite an unemployment rate hovering around 30 percent in Louisiana, don’t expect U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) to lead the charge for more funding to help out state and local governments hit hard by the crisis.

Kennedy told the D.C.-based outlet The Hill that “people in hell want ice water too" and appeared to liken coronavirus relief proposals for state and local governments that call for more spending to a “Labor Day mattress sale.”

Kennedy's office tells  WWNO/WRKF that the senator has introduced legislation to get the CARES Act money allocated to Louisiana quickly -- without the need for additional funding. 

"The Senator is actively working to get effective relief to the people of Louisiana while fighting to protect their jobs. In fact, [Kennedy] introduced a bill this week to allow the state and local governments to use the $1.8 billion that came from the CARES Act without an expiration date, and to use that money without many of the current restrictions on the funds."

Congress passed the emergency relief CARES act in late March, allocating roughly $2 trillion in help, including one-time payments of $1,200 for people making up to $75,000 a year. The White House and Senate Democrats are on board with another round of stimulus checks but according to The Hill, it appears some GOP senators are not convinced it’s needed. Kennedy has not said whether he would support another round of stimulus checks, according to his office.