Sen. Bill Cassidy ready to push alternative COVID-19 relief package

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (Photo courtesy Bill Cassidy campaign)

After U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Baton Rouge, won his first-ever bid for re-election Tuesday night, he talked to members of the press about what he felt he’s done right during his first term and what his plans are for his second term.

Congress failed to pass another COVID-19 relief package before Election Day after discussions between the White House and the two political parties stalled, but Cassidy said, We have a bill that’s kind of Goldilocks, just right. And if the negotiations fail, we’re going to put that bill forward that we think bridges the gap between Democrats and Republicans.”

Cassidy said under that proposal, unemployed workers would receive 80 percent of what they earned before losing their job. 

“You don’t want to pay people more than they made working, right?” Cassidy said. “That’s just terrible for economic recovery. Terrible for the individual. But if you give them enough to pay their bills, their rent, then we would like to do that.”

Cassidy also said the proposed package would provide relief for state and local governments, something he couldn’t get Republican leaders in his party to support earlier this year. He said the proposal would be more heavily tilted toward local governmentsbecause providing relief for them is an easier sell.

“States often have rainy day funds,” Cassidy said. “Whereas you look at a city like New Orleans that heavily depends on sales tax from tourism, is heavily dependent on hotel bed tax, on manning fees at the airport — all that is down.”

Cassidy won 59 percent of the vote Tuesday night in a race with 14 challengers, avoiding the need for a December run-off election. 

His closest challenger, Adrian Perkins, a 34-year-old first-term mayor of Shreveport and the pick of the Louisiana Democratic Party, ran a distant second with 19 percent of the vote.  Cassidy even beat Perkins on his home turf, winning 47 percent to Perkins’ 36 percent in Caddo Parish.

“Four months ago, running for Senate was not on my radar at all,” Perkins said during a concession speech. “I was focused on serving the citizens of Shreveport day in and day out. I watched as COVID-19 robbed us of our neighbors, our friends, loved ones. I saw small businesses, staples in our community, shutting the doors. I stepped forward to serve to do everything I could to fight for the resources and the help that (the state needs).”

“We all should pray for his success,” Perkins said of Cassidy. “And I look forward to working with him and his continued service for all of our constituents and help to move our city and our state forward.”