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Capito talks D.C. issues with West Virginia press

MORGANTOWN — Sen. Shelley Moore Capito spoke with members of the West Virginia press on Thursday about various D.C. issues.

She’d joined with other GOP senators on Wednesday to talk about their opposition to the Biden plan to end the Title 42 immigration policy. The Dominion Post asked her on Thursday about the status of the bill she and Sen. Joe Manchin and a bipartisan group of other senators have sponsored to block that plan: the Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022.

Capito said they are looking to amend it into one of two bills coming up for consideration. One is a $10 billion COVID relief package. The other is a $33 billion aid package for Ukraine. She said more will be known next week.

Biden wanted $22.5 billion for COVID relief and Capito said his desires on that front appear inconsistent with the stance that the pandemic is mostly past and Title 42 in unnecessary. “The administration is all over the place on that.”

The CDC wants to terminate Title 42, which has been in effect since March 2020 and has been used by both the Trump and Biden administrations to turn away migrants to try to keep communicable diseases out of the country.

The Public Health and Border Security Act would prevent the administration from ending the Title 42 emergency authority until at least 60 days after ending the COVID-19 national emergency declaration. After the end of the national emergency, the Department of Homeland Security would have 30 days to submit to Congress a plan to address the impacts of the post-Title 42 migrant influx. That plan must be made in coordination with local governments, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations on the front-lines of the migrant crisis.

A Louisiana federal judge has temporarily blocked the Biden plan, but uncertainty remains as the terms haven’t been worked out. The restraining order stems from a 21-state lawsuit that West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey joined.

Title 42 has been used to turn away about half the illegal immigrants at the border, Capito said. If it ends, the number crossing this year could be 1.5 million to 2 million.

Capito answered a question about a plan by Senate and House Democratic leaders to address high gasoline prices through legislation attacking what they say is oil company price gouging and market manipulation.

Capito said this is a political response because President Biden hasn’t addressed it and to some degree has made it worse.

“The first thing I would do is unleash the power of American energy,” she said. Drill and refine more oil. “This administration is doing everything they can to keep any kind of fossil fuel from getting out of the ground, and that’s impacting gasoline prices.” And it started before what Biden has called the Putin price hike.

Capito also was asked if she’ll be endorsing a candidate in the McKinley-Mooney primary contest for the newly drawn 2nd Congressional District.

Capito said she hasn’t done primary endorsements and won’t this time, either. She said she works well with both but she worked with McKinley regarding the bipartisan infrastructure bill. “I think his vote was absolutely the right vote.”

She didn’t mention that Mooney has used McKinley’s vote as a campaign tactic to link McKinley to the Pelosi-Biden agenda, as former President Trump has done for both Capito and McKinley.

Two incumbents are vying and she said, “I’ve never been in a primary like this. I think they’re very, very difficult. But West Virginia will be served well, whoever wins.”

TWEET David Beard @dbeardtdp