Senate candidates Jeff Sessions, Tommy Tuberville discuss rebooting economy

Updated: Apr. 24, 2020 at 8:10 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Right now all the state and federal leaders are thinking about how we will get the economy back on its feet.

Alabama's economy can and will stand again.
Alabama's economy can and will stand again.(SOURCE: GRAY TV)

And senate hopefuls are weighing in.

WAFF 48 had exclusive interviews this week with Republican senate candidates Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville about a wide range of topics relating to this pandemic.

Millions of Americans are out of work, and Jeff Sessions says he has an idea on how to speed up fixing that issue.

He's calling on the federal government to put a halt on immigrants coming to the U.S. for work.

On Wednesday President Trump issued an executive order doing just that.

It went into effect Thursday.

It does not apply to immigrants who are already living in the U.S. and trying to become citizens.

There are also exceptions for medical professionals.

But it puts a 60 day halt on employment based immigration.

Sessions says his order is not as specific as he would have liked, but it's a start.

“It’s almost insanity to bring in large numbers of people from abroad to take jobs in America. We do about 450,000 that come for white collar jobs. I’m not talking about agricultural work and those kinds of things, I’m talking about white collar jobs. Every single job that’s created should go to an American first,” Sessions said.

When we asked Tommy Tuberville about the $480 billion relief bill the House passed Thursday night, one of the first things he said is how relieved he is these rural hospitals will be getting support.

Tuberville says he's talked to hospitals all over the state. He says they are losing millions of dollars a week

That's because most hospitals have suspended non essential procedures and routine checkups.

The bill leaves $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.

Tuberville says there's no reason we can't be producing more testing swabs when we have the ability to make millions of soft drinks a day.

But, until that money arrives, the hospitals are in danger.

He says UAB is losing roughly $50 million a week.

Here in Madison County, Huntsville Hospital made a tough decision to furlough hospital employees.

And Tuberville tells us it's happening in Auburn now too.

“I live in Auburn and just last week we let off and furloughed 200 employees in the hospital. And people there now are losing their jobs so I think it's good we added in this bill where we could help the hospitals. help the hospitals with buying testing where it doesn't have to come out of their budgets or the state budgets,” Tuberville said.

During our conversation with Jeff Sessions, one of the points he kept coming back to is being extremely careful on how the federal government spends money.

Sessions says every dollar the government says should be focused on helping the average unemployed worker.

He says the government is spending money it doesn't have, so every dollar is adding to the country's debt.

Sessions tells us he understands how quickly the first stimulus bill was created, so there was going to be mistakes.

Sessions says one of those mistakes was awarding stimulus checks to some federal government employees.

“Maybe instead of sending out checks like $1,200 to federal government employees who work at the United States Senate. They get the checks too, even though they haven't lost their jobs and have no prospects of losing their job. We need to make sure that whatever money we spend to fix this problem is spent wisely,” Sessions said.

Sessions says that extra money could go to things like health insurance for unemployed workers.

Tommy Tuberville tells us health insurance is one of the most important things we need to have. But he says we as a country have a lot of problems with our health care system.

Tuberville says he thinks the federal and state government is really going to have to work together to fix this problem, especially with unemployment rates continuing to rise.

He tells us he believes the Affordable Care Act forced a lot of insurance companies out of business.

And with less competition it became more expensive.

He says the country was made on the capitalistic system and more competition is needed.

“I think the answer probably in the short term is to open up state lines and let insurance companies come across state lines and get involved. Immediately that would help. Number one help people to be able to afford insurance because prices would go down to some degree. But also give better insurance I think because when you have competition you do have better insurance,” Tuberville said.

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