(Associated Press) Officials in South Carolina expressed appreciation Sunday for the 1.5 million surgical masks sent from China that are needed to stem the new coronavirus outbreak.
But U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham also called for a lessening of U.S. reliance on China.
“We want the masks made in the United States,” Graham said during an availability on the tarmac of the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport. He watched the unloading of the masks from a Boeing aircraft.
“We don’t want to ever have to rely on China or anyone where for our basic health care needs.”
Throughout the new coronavirus outbreak, Graham has repeatedly called for a draw-down of U.S. reliance on China. He tweeted earlier this month he wanted the U.S. response over the outbreak “so overwhelming China will change its behavior.”
The Republican also told Fox News he felt the U.S. “should send China a bill for the pandemic.”
Noting he expected a resurgence of the virus in the fall, Graham said Sunday he wanted the U.S. to be “much better prepared” in terms of needed supplies by the time that happens.
“The medical supply chain is coming back to America,” he said.
U.S. Rep. William Timmons echoed Graham’s comments, saying of the necessity of a mask shipment from China: “This will not happen again.”
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the nation’s governors are rightfully feeling impatient about getting financial help from Congress during the coronavirus outbreak and insists the aid will come.
The California Democrat tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that governors “should be impatient. Their impatience will help us get an even bigger number” in the next congressional relief package. Pelosi has already pledged to provide them billions in aid.
With much of the American economy shuttered during the pandemic, state and local governments are reeling from declining sales tax revenues and surging unemployment benefit costs.
Several governors, including Democrat Andrew Cuomo of New York, say federal aid should have been approved in the last relief package. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has since expressed opposition to providing more local help.
But Pelosi says people should judge the latest federal aid package “for what it does. Don’t criticize it for what it doesn’t, because we have a plan for that. And that will happen.”
The chairman of the company that includes the Expedia travel business says the coronavirus outbreak has done catastrophic damage to the U.S. economy and a lack of leadership from Washington is hampering the response.
Expedia Group Chairman Barry Diller says business bankruptcies will be widespread and that President Donald Trump’s prediction that the economy will begin to rebound by summer is unrealistic.
“The damage that’s being done is catastrophic,” Diller said.
He added that he expects Americans will begin to return to work in large numbers by Labor Day in early September. He said the summer would be a “big mess” as companies try different approaches to reopening.
He said the federal government has to step up its response with clear, science-based instructions about whether Americans can resume normal activities and under what restrictions.
“Unfortunately, we have a witch doctor as president and he ain’t gonna tell us,” Diller said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”