‘Not a time for aspirational legislation’: GOP Senate leaders, Trump, dismiss Pelosi’s HEROES Act

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has spent weeks pushing another multi-trillion dollar coronavirus relief bill. Republican leaders in the Senate, however, insist her efforts are not going to pay off.

The House passed legislation last month guaranteeing a $1,200 stimulus payment to every qualifying individual as well as another $1,200 allocated for each dependent.

In addition to an estimated price tag of about $3 trillion, Republicans are also criticizing the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, for a range of its other provisions.

“We’re talking about survival”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) tweeted that the bill bans states from implementing photo ID for mail-in voting and allows for the release of aging federal prisoners who have certain health problems.

While it passed largely along partisan lines, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) became the only member of his party to support it. Fourteen Democrats voted against the bill.

“I can be as much a red state person as anyone,” King said. “But now we’re talking about survival.”

Pointing to the humanitarian toll the pandemic has had on New York, King said that the state would “absolutely collapse” without aid money included in the bill. Of course, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated that the bill has no path to passage in his chamber.

He described Pelosi’s proposal as “not something designed to deal with reality, but designed to deal with aspirations,” asserting that such a plan is not right for the current situation.

“An effort to try and create talking points”

“This is not a time for aspirational legislation,” McConnell said. “This is a time for practical response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

According to Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the second-highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, the HEROES Act is a “messaging exercise” never intended to actually become law.

“It wasn’t a sincere effort, or a meaningful effort, to address a crisis that is being faced by the American people, but it clearly is an effort to try and create talking points for the 2020 election,” he said.

Even if the legislation could survive a Senate vote, President Donald Trump promised to veto it. Pelosi might try to portray the bill’s defeat as evidence that Republicans are not taking the coronavirus response seriously, but Trump and the GOP insist it is simply the wrong legislation for the job.

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