Pandemic Perspective of Rep. Tom Emmer

by Tim Gella

One caller asked the Congressman when Minnesotans could expect things to return to normal.  Mr. Emmer said it would be hard to determine, but his guess was probably by June we would be doing normal things we used to do.  The President stated earlier in March that it would be August or September.  Many medical experts believe it could take much longer than that.  

Another caller was concerned about dire warnings regarding the pandemic expressed by medical experts on TV.  The Congressman responded that many people believed this was an overreaction and that we shouldn’t pay too much attention to the “entertainment industry”.  Mr. Emmer said he thought many callers waiting to ask a question also believed this was overblown.  He also stated that most people who get sick only experience mild or moderate symptoms, but those over age 70 or with pre-existing conditions were at higher risk.  Given my age, I felt like I was being swept under the rug!  Thanks for your heartfelt empathy, Congressman. 

Mr. Emmer was also asked why he voted against a bipartisan coronavirus aid package supported by the White House that included expanding paid emergency and sick leave for workers, free testing for COVID-19, $1 billion in food aid, and enhancing unemployment insurance.  (Mr. Emmer was the only no vote in Minnesota’s House delegation. Five Democrats and two Republicans voted in favor. On March 14, the bill passed the House 363 to 40.) 

Congressman Emmer said there were questions raised about spending and he felt the process was rushed.  According to a Star Tribune March 17 article by Patrick Condon, Mr.  Emmer previously said, “There was no time to analyze the full impact of this legislation on Main Street businesses.  Perhaps worst of all, at a time when spending is out of control, nobody even bothered to calculate the cost of these measures.”

Republican State Representative Bob Dettmer (39A) called and used almost 10 minutes of valuable constituents’ time. More callers could have asked critical questions.  Mr. Dettmer praised the Congressman and the President for the fine job they were doing concerning the coronavirus pandemic.  Mr. Dettmer also stated that Republican State Senator Karin Housley (39) was “very happy”  with the way the Congressman and President were handling the crisis. 

I can only say that the callers to this Town Hall must choose for themselves which flow of information they find to be credible.     

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Retiree Council Board member Tim Gella, who is chair of our Federal Issues Committee, called in to a virtual town hall meeting being held by his Congressman, Republican Tom Emmer on Monday, March 23.  Here is a report of that meeting from Tim:

The meeting’s purpose was to take questions from constituents regarding concerns about the corona virus.  Participants sought clarity about information being discussed by medical experts and the Administration.