“It’s got so much unrelated to the coronavirus, it’s dead on arrival here in terms of a viable idea,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Republicans control the Senate, making their support necessary for legislation to get passed.
The package from the caucus of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “is not something designed to deal with reality, but designed to deal with aspirations,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said during a press conference in Washington.
“This is not a time for aspirational legislation, this is a time for a practical response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told reporters, “What Nancy Pelosi is proposing will never pass the Senate.”
While ostensibly it was a bill designed to provide further relief from economic struggles linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, the House package was described by critics as including a number of measures with little connection to the health crisis. It includes $25 billion for the U.S. Postal Service, a rollback on the cap on state and local taxes, and a requirement for banking regulators to issue an annual “diversity and inclusion report.”
The package was described by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the number two Republican in the Senate, as “a laundry list of agenda items that have nothing to do with the coronavirus but are part of their more permanent long-term agenda.”
“It clearly is an effort to try to create talking points for the 2020 election. It’s not going anywhere. We all know that,” he said.
Pelosi said in a statement delivered from Washington that “it is imperative we address the needs of the American people.”
The HEROES Act focuses on three pillars, she said: opening the economy safely, honoring heroes such as health care workers, and giving more money directly to Americans.
“We must act boldly to support state and local entities to address coronavirus-related outlays and lost revenue due to the coronavirus,” Pelosi said.
“We all know that we must put more money in the pockets of the American people. This is not only necessary for their survival, but it is also a stimulus to the economy. Direct payments, unemployment insurance, rental and mortgage help, and food and student loan assistance, among other things, are essential to relieve the fear that many families are facing.”
The bill earned support from some groups, including Caring Across Generations, which represents caregivers, people with disabilities, and aging Americans.
“This bill addresses this boldly by expanding paid leave and by committing $850 million to family care for essential workers—which notably and holistically covers childcare AND support for older adults and people with disabilities,” Josephine Kalipeni, director of policy for the group, said in a statement.
“It also ensures testing and treatment for all, including prioritizing people whose care needs are best met at home and in their communities, and who are at high risk of getting sick and dying.”
Republican lawmakers are pushing for a narrower bill that would reform liability protections for businesses and schools.
Author: Zachary Stieber
Source: The Epoch Times: Republican Senators Say Democrats’ $3 Trillion Virus Package ‘Dead on Arrival’