Fox News’ Juan Williams and Bill Hemmer got into a heated debate Wednesday over the coronavirus relief bill currently making its way through Congress.
During their broadcast of “America’s Newsroom,” Hemmer and co-host Dana Perino were joined by Williams and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s former chief of staff, Josh Holmes. The group discussed the details of the $1.9 trillion bill and expressed their disagreement on some of its finer points. (RELATED: ‘So You’re Saying It’s Embarrassing’: CNN Anchor Presses Democrat On Special Earmarks For New York, California In $1.9 Trillion Relief Bill)
Perino began the discussion by criticizing some of the non-COVID-related line items included in the bill, such as infrastructure projects in Democratic constituencies, and a leave program for federal workers worth up to $21,000 per employee. “How does it just slip through and nobody talks about it?” she asked.
“This bill at its core is just fraud. It’s just plain and simple. It’s fraud,” Holmes answered. “If a private company tried to sell you a product to take care of a pandemic and they built you a bridge, they’d go to jail, right?”
He said that the bill is actually just $2 trillion “in payoffs to constituencies that supported Democrats” in the last election, and that it has “very little to do with the pandemic” and “everything to do with key Democratic constituencies under the guise of COVID relief.”
Hemmer pointed out a few more items in the bill not related to the pandemic and then asked Williams what he would call it since Holmes “called it fraud.”
“I think it’s a great bill. I mean, you know, I look at it and I think to myself it’s hard for the critics to argue with the heart of a bill given the 500,000 deaths, given the slow down in our economy, the high unemployment rate, people on the verge of losing unemployment benefits in the middle of this month …” Williams said.
Hemmer began to interrupt, and the two talked over each other briefly before Williams yelled, “Hang on, Bill! Let me just finish!”
“You can see it in terms of the American people. Right now 60% of Republicans support this bill,” Williams continued.
“I don’t disagree. I just want to make it clear no one here is objecting to direct payments. This has been going on for months and it hasn’t been gotten done yet,” Hemmer responded.
Holmes chimed in, describing the Democrats as trying to take more control over the lives of Americans with the bill, and adding that it is a “horrible way to run the country.”
“Just to be clear no one is objecting to direct payments. What we’re suggesting is —” Hemmer began again, as Williams tried to interrupt. Hemmer kept speaking over him saying, “Why you don’t spend 90% of this money next year, and the year after, and year 2028?”
“But it does, Bill … You have to understand much of that money gets spent going into, like, 2028 and beyond. Why? Because you have kids who have to make up for their learning. You have kids who have been off track in terms of some of their preparations for things that are to come —” Williams said.
“Seven years from now,” Hemmer interrupted, before the conversation became inaudible with multiple people attempting to speak.
Williams responded, saying that “over half” of the $1.9 trillion would go “to stimulus, unemployment benefits, and children” and that it’s good for America.
“When we’re talking about $2 trillion we could talk about this forever,” Hemmer concluded, ending the segment.