Rachel del Guidice: I’m joined today on “The Daily Signal Podcast” by Congressman Ted Budd of North Carolina. Congressman Budd, it’s great to have you with us on “The Daily Signal Podcast.

Rep. Ted Budd: Rachel, thanks for having me.

>>> Listen to the interview with Rep. Budd:

Del Guidice: Thanks for being with us. So, I want to start talking about Democrats’ $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. You’re calling it a “Biden bailout.” Why is that?

Budd: Yeah, essentially it’s unspent funds, and it’s just a liberal wish list.

Look, here’s the number that you need to know: 9% of this. That’s all that is dedicated to actual COVID relief. So, do the math; that’s 91% that is simply a liberal wish list.

Look, if you want to do the COVID relief part for the best … let’s back up for a second. The best thing to do is just open the economy. That’s the best stimulus. That’s the best COVID … economic relief our country could ever have. Every state open up. We’ll take care of those who need to be taken care of.

And look, if you want to spend the 9% of this bill, there’s a case for that, but not $2 trillion. That’s completely irresponsible.

Del Guidice: Can you talk about some of the things that are included in this bill that have absolutely nothing to do with COVID relief, because there’s a lot; you mentioned the percentages. But can you just highlight some of those things so people are aware?

Budd: Yeah, well, what’s on the bubble right now is the minimum wage increase. And if that’s a standalone vote because of the Senate parliamentarian, we’ll figure all that stuff out. But just even the fact that they wanted to put that in there will kill 1.4 million blue-collar jobs.

When our economy is so vulnerable, now is not the time to be doing that. There’s stimulus checks to illegal immigrants. There’s taxpayer funding for abortion that is allowed in there. There’s no guardrails against it. It even funds some colleges that partner with companies that are controlled by communist China.

And now we’re seeing direct payments to federal employees whose kids aren’t even in school. And I think that’s playing favorites when there’s other people outside of the federal government and outside of federal employees that need help as well.

Del Guidice: Well, looking at everything that’s in this bill that has nothing to do with COVID relief, what are some ways that COVID has impacted in just the different restrictions you’ve seen for people? What are you seeing when it comes to small businesses and just the impact it’s had in your state?

Budd: So, up in … North Carolina, we’ve seen a lot of restaurants hurt. That’s one of my greatest concerns, that people are out there, they’re dealing with problems of despair. Now we say, “Well, let’s lock down for safety,” but then you’re seeing people start having problems [with] addiction, depression, and the worst case, suicide, alcoholism. These are other problems that are replacing COVID.

So that’s very concerning.

Schools are staying shut. We were funding schools to stay closed when we need them to be open. And when kids aren’t in school, a lot of these parents can’t go back to work. So we’re seeing that. We’re seeing social problems related to that, kids behind, … some kids are going to have to repeat a grade, I think, and ultimately, that hurts our economy.

There’s just one concern after another.

Del Guidice: Well, we’re going into now about the [second] month of President [Joe] Biden’s administration, and I’m just curious, what’s your perspective on the administration so far? And are there just concerns that you’ve seen surface already? … I’m just curious, like what your thought is on the temperature of what’s going on.

Budd: So, the question was asked when he was inaugurated on Jan. 20 and then, “Hey, do I support him?” Well, I’m going to support anything that helps our country. And am I about unity? Well, anything that we can unify on that grows our economy helps us be a stronger nation.

But one of the things I’m going to be talking about today, Rachel, is the 1619 Project versus the 1776 Commission. We talk about the heroes that founded our country, but ultimately eliminated slavery and created a country that is a nation of laws and not of men.

For the first time in history in 240-plus years beyond that, [Biden] cancels that very commission. So, I don’t like what I’m seeing. I want him to do what’s right.

But even the Democrats are having questions. I mean, within the last few hours, they’re saying we need to remove sole authority for nuclear codes from Joe Biden. That tells you what they actually think of him and how they actually don’t trust him.

Del Guidice: You have a really good point there. So, you did mention the 1776 Commission, and I do want to ask you about that. So, you’ve written an op-ed for The Daily Signal, actually. It’s called “The Right to Pass Down America’s Founding Values Is Worth Fighting For.” Can you talk a little bit about why you want to bring back the 1776 Commission, and just why this is so important to begin with?

Budd: I mean, well, we have to push back. We have to stand up for what’s right. The 1776 Commission brought together scholars and historians to understand the principles of our founding. Things like life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, fundamental truth of human liberty, equal treatment under the law, and a government by and for the people.

And that’s not what we’re seeing, because the 1619 Project, it tries to reframe U.S. history and put the consequences of slavery at the very center of our national narrative, and that’s wrong. They want to teach our kids that our country is hopeless, it’s flawed, it’s evil.

And I’m really concerned, because I’m in a North Carolina—Winston-Salem—area. Even a town like us … (as well as 4,500 classrooms across all 50 states) has adopted this curriculum. And I think it really sets us up for a bad future when people hate their own country.

Del Guidice: Well, something else you’ve been outspoken about recently is talking to members of Congress and urging them to reject the proposed restoration of earmarks. Why is this important and why are earmarks bad?

Budd: Yeah, anytime you use taxpayer money to fund a local interest, that’s essentially a quasi form of bribery. And this is something that in the 2000s, early 2000s, I mean, members of Congress are going to jail for this, and now they want to bring [it] back and mainstream it. I mean, that’s not a good idea.

When our economy is as vulnerable as it is, when it’s crying out for some efficiencies to get our country moving again and now they’re wanting to do earmarks. I think that’s ridiculous.

Del Guidice: Well, I’m curious, given that we have this [Democrat-controlled] House, White House, and Senate, there’s not a lot Republicans can do, conservatives, but how would you encourage your colleagues to respond to what we see going on, and what can we do despite the political climate we’re in right now?

Budd: Well, we can use every procedural tool in our tool belt and in our toolbox on the House floor and the Senate floor. We are grateful for some of the nearly 300 judges that [President Donald] Trump appointed. So, we should see some favorable federal court outcomes in the lower federal court.

So, there’s optimism there, and we need to set the table so that we can win in 2022. We can flip the Senate back [to Republican control]. We’ll be defending 20 seats. The Democrats defending about 14, and then … every House seat is always up for reelection. And they have the [thinnest] majority since the 1930s or so.

So, they’re very vulnerable, and they’re going to overplay their hand. The problem right now, Rachel, is that when they overplay their hand, it hurts America. So, it will be painful. Let’s be realistic here. It will be painful for the next year and a half, but we need to win so that we can take back the House and ultimately take back our country.

Del Guidice: Well, something else the Democrats just passed is the Equality Act, and I’m curious to get any reaction you have on that. And just specifically how it impacts women, especially when the Democrat Party often talks a lot about how they want to be so welcoming of women and want to elevate them.

Just any thoughts you have on the passage of this bill and any concerns you have about how it can impact women and just society as a whole.

Budd: One of the things that the Democrats are really good at is hacking language, using language to pass deceptive bills. The [For the People Act] was HR 1, the Equality Act is HR 5, but now we’re going to see if this passes the Senate in its current form.

It’s going to destroy women’s sports, something that other parts of federal law have worked so hard—Title IX—so hard to bring about the elevation of women’s sports over the past several decades. And it’s been phenomenal for our institutions and the female athletes. And now there’s going to be a blending of the two, and it’s going to allow a lot of bad things.

Del Guidice: Well, we’re here talking at [the Conservative Political Action Conference], and the theme this year is “America Uncanceled,” and we’ve just seen a lot of different examples lately on social media, just in society in general, of cancel culture everywhere.

What about this concerns you, No. 1, and … No. 2, how would you encourage your colleagues and just Americans in general to respond in the ways they can?

Budd: Well, let’s be loud. Let’s be kind. There’s no mean-spirited needed, but we need to call out cancel culture. We need to step up. Don’t retreat. Let’s be on the advance right now, whether it’s on social media and whether it’s in person, and whether it’s with our neighbors, whether it’s in the school systems.

Be engaged in civil discourse, in the town square, whatever that town square is that you can engage in. Please do engage. Do not retreat. Don’t let them take ground here, because we have the moral high ground on this … . Do not let them cancel us.

Del Guidice: Well, we couldn’t [have ended] on a better note. So, Congressman Ted Budd, thank you so much for joining us on “The Daily Signal Podcast.

Budd: Thank you, Rachel. It’s great to be with you.

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