Senator Mitch McConnell talks with Russellville officials on challenges facing economy

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 11:35 PM EST
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RUSSELLVILLE, Ky. (WBKO) - Inflation and workforce shortages, issues most communities are currently facing as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was in Russellville to discuss these issues, among others, with local leaders.

“My view of it is the new administration and the new democratic congress are still looking backwards instead of forward,” Senator McConnell said. He and the executive director of Logan County’s Economic Alliance of Development both said the federal government is spending too much.

“We’ve got to encourage people to get back into the workforce and discourage them from staying at home,” Jim DeCesare said.

Many economists would also argue that supply chain issues caused by COVID-19 are also causing inflation along with a newly opened economy as more consumers are suddenly spending, bottlenecking the demand for goods.

Senator McConnell also discussed the recently passed one trillion-dollar infrastructure bill.

“We passed it on a bipartisan basis. I think it was good for the country,” he said. “It did not raise any taxes and that’s on the way to the president for signature.”

He said Kentucky will receive at least five billion dollars from the legislation.

“It’s potentially the solution to the Brent Spence Bridge in Northern Kentucky,” Senator McConnell said. “And I know all of you are thinking, ‘well, that’s a long way from where we are.’ I think a lot of that money also ought to be available for rural and small-town communities that have needs.”

Senator McConnell recently received his COVID-19 booster shot as many businesses are concerned a new vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 employees could cause even more of a workforce shortage.

“Even though the vaccine is demonstrably effective, many people choose not to take it,” Senator McConnell said. “So, this is a variety of different challenges. It’s kind of a perfect storm that is creating these headwinds in getting the economy up and running again.”

President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private businesses was halted by a federal court. However, the president said the rule should stay in place while a decision is being made.

The mandate would require employees who do not receive the shot by January 4 to wear a mask and be tested weekly for COVID-19.

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