Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Lauren Witzke recently released her plan for economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has a lot less moving parts compared to the plans being argued over in Congress.
Witzke is proposing allowing Americans to dip into up to half of their 401k savings tax-free, if the funds go towards starting a new small business, or reopening a small business that closed due to the pandemic.
“This will reinvigorate the economy,” she said. “It will get that money back into the economy, but also it will revive the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans, where we are the nation of great ideas and now it will give Americans access to their retirement funds without penalty to operate in their dreams.”
Witzke is also calling for $1,200 a month in direct payments to all Americans until all COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.
Negotiations for further coronavirus relief legislation have stalled in Congress as Republicans and Democrats debate over relief packages ranging between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion. Witzke criticizes both parties for not reaching an agreement.
“So my question is to Republicans and the Democrats, while they argue on their proposed trillion dollar plans and Americans are struggling, where is all that extra money going?” asked Witzke. “My plan with direct payments for Americans would only cost us $250 billion.”
Witzke faces incumbent Democratic Sen. Chris Coons—a University of Delaware poll shows Coons with a comfortbale 30-point lead over the political newcomer.
Coons also supports direct payments to Americans, but has a different strategy to support small businesses including a second round of PPP loans, extending the Small Business Debt Relief Act, and providing $1 billion for Community Development Finance Institutions.
He’s also co-sponsored bills to address homelessness during the pandemic and wants funding for state and local governments to be included in the next relief package.
The two also differ on COVID-19 restrictions. Witzke is calling for a full reopening of the economy and an end to all restrictions, citing the damage to mental health and small businesses while larger corporations have been unaffected or prospered during the shutdown. Coons continues to call for mask wearing, social distancing and compliance with public health guidelines.