A procedural vote that fell short for the Congressional Progressive Caucus gave way to the passage of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act in the House of Representatives yesterday. The $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill was criticized as “woefully inadequate” by Progressives.
In a 208-199 vote, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Mark Pocan (Wis.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Ro Khanna (Calif.), Katie Porter (Calif.), Jesús García (Ill.), Conor Lamb (Penn.), Abigail Spanberger (Va.), Abby Finkenauer (Iowa), Cindy Axne (Iowa), and Haley Stevens (Mich.) were against the bill because it “does not meet the scale of either the coronavirus pandemic or the ongoing economic calamity,” Common Dreams reported.
The 1,815-page bill includes assistance to state and local governments, hazard pay for frontline workers, an extension of unemployment benefits, an extension of student loan forgiveness, funding for contact tracing, isolation measures, and testing, assistance to farmers, protections for renters and homeowners, another direct payment to Americans, assistance to the U.S. Postal Service and funding for election security. But Jayapal, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the the HEROES Act doesn’t include key aspects such as a federal paycheck guarantee for the millions of Americans who have been laid off or an expansion of Medicare to help the uninsured.
“While this legislation has some good elements, it ultimately fails to match the scale of this crisis,” Jayapal said. “I believe we can and must do better. This is urgent and the American people cannot wait. We must choose differently.”
Republicans said the bill is “going nowhere, and is going nowhere fast” as it faces a GOP-led Senate and Donald Trump’s veto threat.
“This bill is nothing more than the Democratic policy agenda masquerading as a response to the coronavirus crisis,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), said.