With the House of Representatives passing the $3 trillion Heroes Act late on Friday, political leaders have largely reacted to the legislation along party lines, with Democrats urging for immediate action in the Senate while Republicans condemned the bill and reiterated that it is dead on arrival.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reiterated his support for the bill and called for action in the Senate, urging McConnell that “we need to act NOW” because “Americans can’t afford to wait.”
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Col.), one of the many Democrats who voted for the $3 trillion legislation on Friday, tweeted soon after the House vote that “the Senate must pass this bill immediately.”
Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who championed the idea of a universal basic income during his campaign, said that he wished more of the $3 trillion “went straight to the people,” but still called the relief bill “a very good thing.”
Tampa, Fla., mayor Jane Castor also tweeted her support of the bill on Saturday morning, saying that it “will go a long way in ensuring that our nation’s cities are able to recover stronger than ever.”
Former Lehigh County Commissioner Dean Browning, who is running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 7th district, said he was “appalled” by the bill’s passing. He condemned it as having “nothing to do with coronavirus” and called it a “grab bag of Democrat/Socialist priorities.”
Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), who voted against his party on the bill, on Saturday urged for a more bipartisan piece of legislation: “We need to go back to the negotiating table immediately and work on a bill that can actually pass.”
While not mentioning the passage of the bill specifically, Donald Trump Jr. sent out an early morning tweet criticizing what he called the “Biden/Pelosi platform on illegal immigration” for providing stimulus checks, free healthcare and amnesty to immigrants.
Progressive leader and former presidential candidate Bernie Sander (D-Vt.) responded as well, though he also didn’t specifically mention the Heroes Act: “$1,200 doesn’t cut it. Congress must send a monthly $2,000 check to every person who needs it until this crisis is over.”
“The Senate will feel pressure to negotiate because the needs are everywhere and we are down 36.5 million jobs,” Yang said on Saturday, a day after the vote.
Both the White House and Senate Republicans have said they will immediately cast the bill aside, calling it “dead on arrival.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed it on Thursday as a “liberal wish list” and called it “an unserious product from an unserious majority.” The Trump administration has similarly issued a threat, with the White House saying that it would veto the bill.
The 1,800-page HEROES Act is an opening offer of Democratic priorities, starting with nearly $1 trillion in direct aid to state and local governments dealing with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. It would also include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks for eligible Americans (those making less than $75,000 per year). The HEROES Act provides $75 billion in mortgage relief, $100 billion for rental assistance, and $75 billion for coronavirus testing. In addition to expanding unemployment insurance, it would also forgive some student loan debt and provide more pay to essential workers. But some Republicans have also criticized the bill because it includes many provisions seemingly unrelated to the current economic crisis.
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