(CNSNews.com) - Here's an opinion you don't often hear from a Republican, but this Republican used to be a Democrat: "If we actually throw away some money right now, so what?" West Virginia Governor Jim Justice told CNN Monday morning.
He was talking about the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill pushed by Democrats, as Republican senators plug their much smaller $600-billion bill that targets people who need help the most.
West Virginia has made headlines in recent days for leading the nation in vaccinations delivered, and that's why Gov. Justice was speaking to CNN.
Host Poppy Harlow asked Justice what is more important to his state -- "that Biden's $1.9 trillion bill passes, even if it's without Republican support...or that it’s a bipartisan agreement, even if it's less money?"
"Well, first and foremost, I wish we'd all come together. And that’s not just blowing smoke, because I don't do that," Justice said.
But the other flip side of it is this, is, Poppy, we’ve got a lot of people in West Virginia that are still struggling with paying their power bill because they got laid off because this pandemic just swept their job away from them.
And, I mean, at the end of the day, really and truly, Poppy, what we need to do is we need to -- we need to understand that trying to be per se fiscally responsible at this point in time with what we've got going on in this country, if we actually throw away some money right now, so what?
We have really got to move and get people taken care of and get people back on balance, and I want to work with the Biden administration just like I worked are with the Trump administration, and I want us to move forward.
Harlow called it "really significant" that Justice, a Republican, leans on the side of more money, while Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat, is leaning toward more targeted payments, meaning less waste and money going only to suffering Americans.
Justice said he has not spoken with Manchin about the COVID relief bill:
You know, I don't really know exactly what the thinking could possibly be there. I mean, we’ve got people that are really hurting. I mean, that’s just all there is to it.
And on top of that – here’s a perfect example, Poppy. My executive assistant came in the other day and said not far from my home there was an elderly man that froze to death in his house and everything. Probably couldn't afford to pay the power bill.
You know, I mean, there's so many different things where people are really, really hurting. And today we've got to move. We can't hold back. We've got to move.
Justice, formerly a Democrat, announced his party switch at a rally with President Trump in August 2017:
“Today, I will tell you, with lots of prayers and lots of thinking, I can’t help you anymore being a Democrat governor," Justice said. "So tomorrow, I will be changing my registration to Republican.” Justice told the rally, the Democrats "walked away from me."