House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was just betrayed by over a dozen members of her own party who refused to vote for her massive coronavirus relief bill this week.
According to Fox News, Pelosi’s bill was passed by the House on Friday, but failed to gain the universal support of her own party, with some moderate Democrats and even some progressives voting against the $3 trillion measure.
Too far … or not far enough
The list of moderate Democrats who voted “no” on Friday is composed of congressmen and women mostly from swing districts. This includes Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Kendra Horn (D-OK), Cindy Axne (D-IA), and Ben McAdams (D-UT).
The main criticism of the bill from these individuals, according to Roll Call, is that Pelosi’s bill was “too broad and too partisan.”
Progressives who voted against the bill, including the four members of the so-called “squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) — argued that it didn’t go far enough.
“I think that for us, as Democrats, we should be putting forward our plan of a couple of things, how we keep people from getting unemployed, how we stop mass unemployment, how do we keep paychecks in people’s pockets? The second thing is how do we cover healthcare for everybody,” said Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), explaining her “no” vote. “And the third is how do we protect businesses from shuttering. And those three big things are critically important.”
The HEROES Act
The coronavirus relief bill that passed the House on Friday evening, named the HEROES Act, is the fifth of its kind. Created by House Democrats, it passed by the margin of 208-199, which demonstrates that unlike the previous four, this bill did not earn bipartisan support.
All in all, fourteen Democrats voted against the measure. Only one Republican — Rep. Pete King (R-NY) — voted for it.
The Washington Examiner provides the following rundown of the bill:
The bill would provide $1 trillion to state, local, municipal, and tribal governments to help them keep operating without the tax revenue lost because of the economic shutdown. It would allocate $200 billion in “hazard pay” for working in grocery stores, medical facilities, and other front-line jobs. The legislation would provide a new round of $1,200 direct payments to individuals and an extension to January of the $600 in extra unemployment insurance benefits now provided to those who lost jobs in the pandemic.
The measure also calls for $175 billion to pay for rent, mortgages, utilities, and other housing costs for those who cannot pay.
Republicans’ main issue with the bill, as Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) put it, is that it has “nothing at all to do with the current crisis.”
“It’s more like a liberal Christmas … wish list,” said Cole. “It would make more sense … to just send it straight to Santa Claus than to send it to the United States Senate. It would have a better chance of becoming law that way.”
While it is unlikely that this particular bill will survive the Republican-controlled Senate — at least in its current form — lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seem to be in agreement that another relief bill is needed and will be passed at some point.