Both the House and the Senate easily passed the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill late Monday night that has been in negotiations for over six months, but a small number of GOP lawmakers voted against the bill for reasons entirely consistent with their beliefs about government.
In the Senate, six GOP members voted no on the bill; they were Sens. Marsha Blackburn (TN), Ted Cruz (TX), Ron Johnson (WI), Mike Lee (UT), Rand Paul (KY), and Rick Scott (FL).
In the House, a total of 53 lawmakers voted against the bill. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) were the only Democrats who voted no to the legislation.
The GOP lawmakers voted against the bill for two main reasons: because it was too long to adequately review in a few hours and because from what lawmakers could see, it contained hundreds of billions of dollars of pork and pet projects that the lawmakers considered wasted money.
GOP objections to massive bill
Paul said on the floor ahead of the vote: “To so-called conservatives who are quick to identify the socialism of Democrats: If you vote for this spending monstrosity, you are no better. When you vote to pass out free money, you lose your soul and you abandon forever any semblance of moral or fiscal integrity.”
Scott reasoned that “new spending today will be paid for by increased federal debt and result in a tax increase on families down the road.”
Blackburn said that the huge price tag of the bill “will make recovery even harder” down the road, while Johnson objected to the short time frame before the vote as being part of the “dysfunction of Washington, D.C.”
Cruz agreed with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s objections to the short time frame before the vote, calling it “ABSURD” to “demand an up-or-down vote on a bill nobody has had time to read.” Lee agreed with Cruz and called for the process to end.
Bill gives more to foreign aid, special interests than direct aid to Americans
The bill did include direct stimulus payments of $600 per taxpayer and dependent to Americans, but that was only about 20% of its spending.
Gabbard, a former Democrat candidate for president, slammed the bill for giving “billions to corporate interests, the military-industrial complex & other countries, leaving crumbs for you who need help most.”
The “$600 is a slap in the face to every American struggling due to the pandemic,” she wrote on Twitter. “You deserve better.”
Lee probably summed the bill up the best when he said, “I know there are some good things in it. I’m equally confident that there are bad things in it.” But the objectors overall have a very valid point: it’s always a mistake in government to vote to pass legislation that you haven’t actually studied enough to know what’s in it.