GOP congressional candidates offer mixed views on second round of stimulus checks

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — With one month until Tennessee’s August election, several GOP candidates from a crowded congressional field spent the day campaigning in the Tri-Cities.

News Channel 11’s Kaylyn Kluck spoke with several candidates at a Republicans of Kingsport luncheon on pandemic-related issues. In particular, candidates were asked if they’d be in favor of a second round of stimulus checks. President Trump has expressed support for a second stimulus.

Candidate Diana Harshbarger said many people and businesses could still benefit from a second round of stimulus checks.

“I think there needs to be some tweaks to the stimulus checks,” said Harshbarger. “If they can make it a clean stimulus to where you don’t attach anything else to it, just give people the money they need to continue to be successful with their business – that’s what I’m for.”

Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) said workplaces should follow CDC and OSHA guidelines so people can get back to work more quickly.

“Between the state, and between the nation, people are being taken care of well,” said Crowe. “I’m not sure, you know, if we need another stimulus or not. I think we just need to try to get people back to work and do it safely.”

Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville) pointed out that the US is already $26 trillion in debt.

“If we do another stimulus, it’s another $3 trillion we would go into debt,” said Hawk. “The answer on the stimulus going forward is, can we pay it back in a reasonable amount of time?”

For former Kingsport mayor John Clark, the federal government should wait to see the impact of the first round of checks.

“I think we need to wait a little bit and see what the reaction is across the country with our economy,” said Clark. “There are folks that are getting back to work now. That’s a good thing. Some folks though, we’re hearing, really don’t want to work, as they did receive their stimulus check.”

Former Johnson City mayor Steve Darden praised PPP programs that aided businesses. But he said the stimulus’ effect on unemployment benefits needs to be addressed.

“I call that a mistake. The unemployment benefits were probably a little excessive that first time around. But we don’t want to slide into a recession or worse,” said Darden.

News Channel 11 also spoke to Rep. Timothy Hill (R-Blountville) today on whether he supports a second stimulus check.

“I think that’s definitely something that we can look at,” said Hill. “But we wanted to do the most good. And the most good is get our economy back open and let business owners be business owners.”

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