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No thanks to Keller

NANCY THALER

Tunkhannock

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, you can have the credit if you really want it.

In his Dec. 23 newsletter, Congressman Keller took credit for opposing the COVID-19 Relief Bill — though he wants us to know how much the bill will help us here in Wyoming County.

In fact, the newsletter listed all the things in the bill that will help us here in Wyoming County: The reauthorization of the Paycheck Protection Program so workers of our small businesses can get paid; an extension of unemployment insurance; money for schools to reopen for in-person learning; grants and loans for small business; funding for local theaters like the Dietrich so they can stay in business; loans for hotels; funds for the purchase and distribution of vaccines; funds for rural hospitals like Tyler; and broadband in rural areas which is critical here in Wyoming County for schools and businesses.

The bill also includes — no thanks to Congressman Keller — assistance to support livestock, dairy and poultry producers.

This fall Congressman Keller dismissed local farmers from his office — making it clear they can’t count on him for support.

But, as he writes, Mr. Keller opposed the bill.

He wants Congress to deal with these relief items “individually — through regular order.” When would that be exactly? A brand new Congress begins this month and it is unlikely any bills will pass any time soon.

With 742 confirmed cases (and counting) of COVID, Wyoming county has reached the highest level of community transmission — greater than 10 percent. During April’s COVID surge, our unemployment rate was 15.5 percent, and now another surge is here. The county poverty rate is over 10 percent and 30 percent of our people are on Medicare or Medicaid. The average income in this county is $59,415 for a household of four. People need help.

With an annual salary of $174,000, Congressman Keller has the luxury of waiting until Congress can deal with each item “individually.” He doesn’t need paycheck protection, or unemployment payments. His broadband is covered and reliable. But the people in this county do need paycheck protection; they do need their hospital and the COVID vaccine; they also need the small businesses and the Dietrich — and they want their kids back in school.

Wyoming County voters can credit, not Congressman Keller, but the other 359 congressmen who voted for the bill, including 128 of his fellow House Republicans. Congressman Keller can be proud of being one of 50 House Republicans to oppose this important relief bill. He gets the credit for that … if he wants it.

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