Washington, USA | THE INDEPENDENT | Democrats-held House is expected to approve U.S. President Joe Biden’s 1.9-trillion-U.S.-dollar COVID-19 relief package Friday night, despite Republican opposition to the massive aid plan.
“If every single thing in Democrats’ $1.9 trillion dollar blowout is important to ‘COVID relief,’ (House) Speaker Nancy Pelosi should allow an up-or-down vote on each item separately,” Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the lower chamber, said in a tweet Friday afternoon.
Pelosi, the top Democrat in the chamber, retweeted the message, commenting that “while you’re busy mocking Americans’ urgent need for COVID relief, Republican mayors across the country are imploring you to support the American Rescue Plan.”
Pelosi was referring to a bipartisan letter to Congress on Jan. 29, co-signed by mayors across the country, including more than 30 Republican mayors, who called on lawmakers to approve the relief package as soon as possible.
“We urge you to take immediate action on comprehensive coronavirus relief legislation, including providing direct fiscal assistance to all cities, which is long overdue,” the letter read.
Biden and White House officials, as well as Democratic lawmakers, have argued that a large relief package is necessary to fight the surging pandemic and get the economy back to full strength, saying that what Republicans have proposed is not enough.
“The greater risk is of scarring the people, having this pandemic take a permanent lifelong toll on their lives and livelihoods,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said recently. “We think it’s very important to have a big package (that) addresses the pain this has caused.”
Despite that, many Republicans have questioned the need for another massive relief package as lawmakers have passed nearly 4 trillion dollars in relief efforts since the pandemic began, especially after a 900-billion-dollar aid package approved in December 2020.
“Democrats are not addressing the urgent needs of a re-opening America. They started with a preconceived liberal wish-list and worked backwards,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Twitter earlier this week.
Early February, Democrats moved to pass a procedural step in both chambers, allowing them to push through the big relief bill in Congress without Republican support.
Michael Burgess, a Republican congressman from Texas, said it has been “disappointing” that Democrats are using a “partisan process” to pass a major relief legislation, just days after Biden called for unity in his inauguration speech.
The House Budget Committee on Monday voted to move forward the relief package, setting up a vote in the full House later this week.