“I bring it up, because I know the strength that Black Lives Matter had in this last election. I know it’s a group that doesn’t like the old-fashioned family,” said Grothman, who is White. “I’m disturbed that we have another program here in which we’re increasing the marriage penalty.”
Plaskett, a non-voting delegate who represents the Virgin Islands, who rose to speak in favor of Biden’s Covid bill, instead spoke out strongly against Grothman’s accusations.
“How dare you, how dare you say that Black Lives Matter, Black people, do not understand old-fashioned families?” Plaskett said. “Despite some of the issues, some of the things that you have put forward that I’ve heard out of your mouth in the Oversight Committee, in your own district, we have been able to keep our families alive for over 400 years, and the assault on our families to not have Black lives or not even have Black families.”
“How dare you say that we are not interested in families in the Black community? That is outrageous, that should be stricken down, she added.
She argued that Biden’s stimulus package would provide relief to “not only Black lives, Black Americans, but all Americans.”
Plaskett told CNN’s Erin Burnett later Wednesday that “if you make racist statements and continue to say them, then that’s probably what you are as well.”
“As an African American, as a Caribbean person, as a person of African descent, I cannot continue to let individuals like Mr. Grothman’s words stay on the record without being rebuked, without being rebuffed,” she said.
She argued that some members of the Republican Party are “almost too comfortable making these kinds of statements, and we’ve got to call them when we have to.”
When pressed Thursday by CNN about his attacks on Black Lives Matter, Grothman did not back down.
“They have Marxist founders and if you look at their original website, they are anti-family,” Grothman said.
Asked again if he stood by what he said on the House floor Wednesday, he indicated he did.
“I really despise Marxism,” he said.
His claims about the marriage penalty are derived from the inclusion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in the Covid relief package. While the EITC is a part of the overall package because of the bill’s broader tax implications, the EITC itself remains unchanged. This particular piece of legislation did not make any adjustments to the EITC, so the existing marriage penalty remains, but it is not new or central to the American Rescue Plan’s overall legislation. Grothman was incorrect when he suggested the marriage penalty was “increasing” as the Covid relief package leaves the EITC in its current form.
CNN’s Manu Raju, Ryan Nobles and Hazel Mang contributed to this report.