While much of the reaction to the COVID-19 relief passed by the House on Monday, Dec. 21 was celebratory in nature, Sixth District Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) had a decidedly different reaction.

Walker did not run for reelection and recently kicked off his 2022 campaign for the US Senate.

Monday Walker released this statement: “After being informed of a possible exposure to COVID-19, I have decided out of precaution to not travel by air to Washington this evening.

However, I want to make sure the record is clear: As millions of Americans and their businesses suffer from a generational pandemic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly negotiated against their interests and held up aid for critical months. The result of her grandstanding and partisanship is a ‘too little, too late’ $600 check hidden within a thousand-page bill Congress has been asked to blindly pass without review. Thus, producing a bill that is flawed in both its content as well as its process. Given its impact, I can’t in good faith vote for legislation of this magnitude without first thoroughly examining its contents and how it affects North Carolinians and their futures. The text of this bill was released at 2 pm. Speaker Pelosi won’t read it and much of her caucus will pass it by texting their vote in.”

The COVID-19 relief portion of the bill was over 1,000 pages, but it was only a small portion of the bill that the House actually passed which totaled 5,593 pages.  According to the Washington Post, it is one of the largest pieces of legislation ever passed by Congress and the Post notes that it contains “numerous provisions – such as the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum Act, legislation to rein in surprise medical billing, an extension of a tax credit for racehorse owners, and policies supporting Tibet – that appear to have nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic or the national economic emergency.”

Certainly no one could read a thousand page bill in the few hours members of Congress were allowed, but the idea of reading and voting on a 5,593 page bill in an afternoon means none of those who voted for or against it, knew what was in the bill.