Though Barrasso didn’t offer specifics on the content of the legislation — which could include small business loans, health care provisions to assist small community hospitals and more — he mentioned that the primary focus of the legislation will lie with support for small businesses and the workers themselves, particularly as unemployment offices across the country have been inundated with new claims.
“We need the economy to be working for all of us,” he said. “We’ve had such a robust and growing economy up until the virus struck and — until we get this virus controlled — we will not have a growing economy or be able to recover. My focus right now is getting the virus behind us by figuring out ways to treat it, by preventing additional spread inventing a vaccine. … The quicker we can get that done, the quicker we can get this behind us and the sooner the country will be able to recover economically.”
However, in a Wednesday morning interview on Fox Business, the senator — who made his name as a doctor in his early years in Wyoming politics — stopped short of calling for a full-on economic shutdown of the country, similar to hard-line containment measures seen in countries like China, where the virus originated, and Italy, one of the epicenters of the crisis in Europe.
While he declined to comment extensively on the current administration’s response to containing the virus thus far — “I’m not going to point fingers,” he said Wednesday, saying he preferred instead to focus on the future — he said that he supported the president’s approach to encourage good behavior and limit large-scale social gatherings, measures he called “reasonable and responsible” means of combating the spread of the virus as long as residents understand what is at stake.