Congressman Soto discusses COVID relief package, Puerto Rico statehood on ‘The Weekly’

News 6 anchor Justin Warmoth hosts Sunday show

ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s been eight months since Congress passed the CARES Act but finding common ground for the next COVID relief package remains to be seen.

While there’s broad support among members from both parties, they sharply disagree on the size and scope of it. With the clock ticking before jobless aid runs out for some 12 million Americans, many are calling on lawmakers to come together and get something passed.

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) joined News 6 anchor Justin Warmoth on “The Weekly on” to discuss the timeline for another relief package and the promising news when it comes to a vaccine.

“Unfortunately, the Senate Republicans have not voted on any package since we passed the CARES Act and we’ve seen President Trump missing in action on these issues,” Soto said. “I would vote for a small package, I would vote for a big package, as long as it includes the unemployment relief and some of the basic needs for our local governments to combat the coronavirus.”

Soto, the first member of Congress from Florida of Puerto Rican decent, also discussed the prospect of the island becoming the 51st U.S. state. On election day, Puerto Ricans voted “yes” on statehood, but the vote was non-binding -- meaning it would need Congressional approval before it can move forward.

“Puerto Rico needs to become a state,” Soto said. “It’s bigger than 20 states’ population with 3.2 million, they’ve been through Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Irma, an economic recession, earthquakes, the PROMESA of fiscal cuts and now COVID. It’s time for them to become a state.”

Watch the full interview Sunday at 7:30 a.m. on News 6.