House passes $3T coronavirus relief package; Trump promises veto

Rep. Ben Crenshaw, R-Texas, adjusts his mask prior to a House vote on a new COVID-19 stimulus bill. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

May 16 (UPI) — The House has passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill that, if President Donald Trump hadn’t promised to veto, would be the largest such package in U.S. history.

The legislation passed with a vote of 208-199 late Friday after the chamber approved a historic process to allow lawmakers to vote remotely by proxies. One Republican — Rep. Pete King of New York — voted with Democrats in favor of the bill, while 14 Democrats sided with Republicans against it.

The legislation now moves on to the Senate for consideration.

Known as the HEROES Act, the legislation Democrats unveiled Tuesday aims to funnel money to state and local governments to address issues that were not included in previous measures and increase funding for the U.S. Postal Service.

“Congress has taken important and meaningful steps to address this public health crisis, but more must be done. I will continue to work with my colleagues to protect the health and safety of all families in Maryland and work toward economic recovery,” House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer said in a statement.

Republicans have balked at the package, deriding it as a partisan move filled with expenses unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, a notion the White House repeated Thursday in its letter to the House of Representatives.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California took issue with the fact that the package provides another $1,200 stimulus check for Americans and undocumented immigrants alike.

House Speaker “Nancy Pelosi just got caught trying to give coronavirus stimulus checks to illegal immigrants,” he said. “She seriously didn’t think anyone would read the 1,800-page wishlist she wrote in her office,” he tweeted.

“Not so fast, Nancy. Republicans made Democrats vote on the record on this one!”

When it was unveiled, Pelosi described the package as having three pillars to reopen the economy safely and quickly, to honor those fighting the coronavirus and to put money in the pockets of Americans suffering under strict lockdown measures put in place to prevent spread of the virus.

“We can all agree that we must open our economy as quickly as we can, but we must do so based on science and data,” she said.


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