Why Six Senate Republicans Voted against the COVID Relief Bill
Congress passed a $ 900 billion coronavirus aid package on Monday evening after months of political deadlock. With the exception of six Republican senators, the Senate voted almost unanimously in favor of the measure.
The 5,593-page bill was passed in House 359-53 before being approved by Senate 92-6. The six votes against the measure came from Republican Senators Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Ron Johnson (Wisc.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Ted Cruz (Texas) .
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The six senators were largely critical of the financial and physical scope of the bill.
Paul called the bill a "spending monstrosity" and said "so-called conservatives" who vote for the measure would be no better than socialist democrats.
"When you vote to give away free money, you lose your soul and forever give up any semblance of moral or fiscal integrity," he said.
Instead, he supported opening up the economy and reducing wasteful spending in the budget to halt the creation of additional debt for future generations.
Johnson similarly said in a statement that the government "does not have an unlimited checking account".
"We need to spend federal dollars - money we borrow from future generations - more carefully and set limits on how much we pawn our children's futures."
He made it clear that while he supported the comprehensive CARES bill as swiftly in the spring, massive action was needed to "prevent economic collapse" and this time a more focused approach; In September, he proposed a smaller $ 600 billion relief bill.
Scott also pushed against the "massive omnibus spending bill that pledges the futures of our children and grandchildren".
In a tweet he said he would not support the bill, adding in a statement that "Washington does not appear to understand that new spending today will be paid for by increased federal debt and will result in a tax hike for families in the future."
"The easy way is easy to go as Congress continues to harm future generations of Americans, but I will not be part of it," he said.
However, Johnson said that while he was "glad that a government shutdown has been avoided and that financial relief will finally reach many who really need him," he criticized the "dysfunction" of the process.
"The Washington, D.C. dysfunction was seen as Congress combined sweeping relief with a massive bulk expense bill three months after the deadline and into the current fiscal year," said Johnson. "That monstrosity was 5,593 pages long and passed only nine hours after the Senate first saw it."
"I just couldn't support this dysfunction, so I voted no," he said.
Cruz and Lee also urged that lawmakers be given only a few hours to read several thousand pages of the legislation.
In response to a tweet from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., NY) complaining that progressive lawmakers had to vote on the bill without being given enough time to review it, Cruz agreed that the process was “absurd " be.
"It's ABSURD to have a $ 2.5 trillion spending bill secretly negotiated and then - hours later - get a vote on a bill that no one had time to read," Cruz tweeted.
Lee repeated this criticism and posted a video on Twitter showing how long it took to print the bill: three minutes for just the first 100 pages of the massive bill.
"Because of its length, it's impossible for anyone to have the opportunity to read it by the time we vote," Lee said on the video. "And I'm absolutely certain that this was cobbled together by a very small handful of Congressmen and their staff, excluding 98% of Congressmen from both political parties in both Houses."
"This process by which members of Congress are being asked to blindly limit themselves to laws negotiated in secret by four of their colleagues must come to an end," he said.
Cruz and Blackburn also criticized some of the funding areas that went into the $ 1.4 trillion spending bill that pooled COVID relief laws.
Cruz said the bill "promotes the interests of the radical left, special interests and swamp lobbyists, with the funds being used to expand authority on more H-2B visas for foreign workers while nearly a record number of Americans remain unemployed." ] "
It also creates the conditions "for Democrats to implement the" Green New Deal "by asserting the" need "to meet electricity needs in the United States from clean, renewable or zero-emission energy sources, he said.
While Blackburn acknowledged that the legislation had a number of positive aspects, including vaccine development and distribution, helping schools and helping small businesses, she said it was too expensive and included a number of actions that she did could not support.
"I can't support nearly $ 2.4 trillion in spending that will make recovery even more difficult," she said in a statement. “I have serious concerns about the provisions on the 5,593 page bill, such as: B. Extended visas, Pell grants for prisoners and households with illegal aliens receiving payments for economic impact. For these reasons, I voted no when this legislation was passed. "
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