House Passes $3 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill Which the Senate Will Ignore
Thanks for nothing, Mitch McConnell.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a historic $3 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, known as the HEROES Act, which passed by a narrow margin of 208-199 yesterday. The massive bill, which is nearly 2,000 pages, provides a wide array of government assistance. $1 trillion would be allocated to state and local governments, $200 billion would be earmarked for hazard pay for essential workers, and $75 billion would go towards COVID-19 testing and tracing. Another $25 billion would bail out the postal service, and over $300 billion would go towards relief pay for Americans.
I just voted YES on the Heroes Act to:
☑️Put more money in your pocket.
☑️Extend unemployment benefits.
☑️Provide hazard pay for front line workers.
☑️Increase help to small businesses.
☑️Support states, cities, and schools.
The American people need help. Now.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) May 16, 2020
The bill is the largest and most expensive relief package congress has passed in its history. The House also made history by passing a law to allow members to vote remotely, which seems like a no-brainer during pandemic times. Now, a member of the House can vote for 10 of their fellow lawmakers, and committees can now hold hearings and markups via video conference.
The lack of remote voting has brought congress to a standstill for nearly two months, with little legislation being debated or voted on outside of previous relief bills. Now, some form of congressional business can resume.
In every Congress since 2013, I’ve introduced legislation that would make remote voting by Members possible. If we are asking businesses and universities around the country to keep working remotely, there is no reason Congress can’t do the same. https://t.co/hjA1YKq5fN
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) May 14, 2020
While the massive relief bill offers a variety of much needed government assistance, many progressive dems voted against the bill for omitting what they saw as essential additions. One such addition, the Paycheck Guarantee Act spearheaded by Pramila Jayapal, would have guaranteed 100% coverage of worker’s wages for up to a year.
More than 36 million have already filed for unemployment and 40% of households earning less than $40,000 lost a job. Mass unemployment is a policy choice and we must choose differently.
But this bill does not keep workers in their jobs and guarantee the certainty of paychecks.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) May 16, 2020
But while the historic bill has passed in the House, grim reaper Mitch McConnell has made it clear that he will kill the bill in the Senate, saying “I don’t think we have yet felt the urgency of acting immediately”.
More than 80,000 people are dead, Senator. Is there a number that would make this more urgent for you? https://t.co/cWSovpFR0h
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) May 12, 2020
But as the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down, republicans will be forced to contend with this in November. Yet another great reminder to register to vote.
(via CNN, image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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