The 14 Democrats who broke with their party on coronavirus relief vote
House Democrats on Friday passed their latest coronavirus stimulus package — a massive $3 trillion bill with $1 trillion for state and local governments, hundreds of billions of dollars for medical equipment and testing, an expansion of unemployment benefits, and another round of direct cash payments for struggling Americans.
Democrats have dubbed the bill the HEROES Act, a nod to the people working on the front lines against the pandemic.
The 208-199 vote was largely along party lines, though more than a dozen lawmakers broke with their parties, including 14 Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Peter King (N.Y.), who explained his position earlier this week.
Many of the Democrats who voted against the bill are centrists or GOP targets who may be vulnerable ahead of the November election, though one progressive, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), also voted against the package.
Nearly two dozen lawmakers from both parties were absent from the vote.
Here are the Democrats who broke with their party on the bill.
Cindy Axne (Iowa)
Axne said that she couldn’t vote for the bill “in good conscience,” calling it “Washington gamesmanship.”
“While this legislation includes critical assistance for Iowa’s hospitals, schools, homeowners and renters, state and local governments, and families who are still feeling the burdens of this public health crisis – I am deeply troubled by numerous provisions in this bill that could see large amounts of taxpayer dollars allocated to helping those who are not hurting at all,” Axne said.
Joe Cunningham (S.C.)
Cunningham, in his first term, expressed his displeasure with the HEROES Act, describing it as “Washington politics at its worst.”
“Congress has an obligation to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars,” he said. “American small businesses, families, and our state and local governments urgently need more aid, but it must be targeted — especially when we are discussing spending trillions of dollars. Instead, this legislation includes unrelated partisan objectives without adequately funding the small business resources my constituents desperately need.”
Sharice Davids (Kan.)
Davids, also a freshman lawmaker, said that while the bill accomplishes some good things, it needs to be bipartisan in nature to succeed.
“The partisan nature and wide scope of this bill makes it doomed upon arrival in the Senate — only further delaying the aid that Kansans desperately need,” Davids said. “Instead we should use these measures as the foundation for a bipartisan relief package that delivers real solutions to the urgent challenges Kansans face in the wake of this public health crisis. That’s what I’ll continue to push for.”
Abby Finkenauer (Iowa)
One of the youngest members of Congress, Finkenauer, 31, echoed the call among dissenting Democrats for the bill to be bipartisan.
“The next federal COVID-19 relief package must be focused on helping families, workers, small businesses and local governments,” she said. “It needs bipartisan buy-in, and should not be tied up with unrelated provisions. I came to Washington to get things done, and this legislation only serves to push real relief further down the road.”
Jared Golden (Maine)
Golden called the decision to vote against the HEROES Act “difficult,” saying that he supported many aspects of the bill.
“By significantly expanding the scope of the legislation beyond core, urgent needs and insisting on the inclusion of a series of unrelated provisions, House leaders missed the opportunity to make bipartisan progress on these issues,” Golden said. “Our communities desperately need relief, but this bill moves us no closer to delivering that relief.”
Kendra Horn (Okla.)
Horn said that bills that lack bipartisanship during a time of crisis such as the pandemic are a “disservice to the American people.”
“In response to COVID-19, our relief efforts must be targeted, timely, and transparent,” Horn said. “The HEROES Act does not meet those standards. To deliver timely relief, we must put aside proposals that lack bipartisan public support and work to negotiate a legislative package that can pass both houses of Congress and earn the support of the White House.”
Pramila Jayapal (Wash.)
Jayapal, co-chairwoman of the Progressive Congressional Caucus (PCC), released a statement before the vote Friday saying that she would be voting no on the HEROES Act.
“At the core, our response from Congress must match the true scale of this devastating crisis. The Heroes Act—while it contains many important provisions—simply fails to do that,” she said, adding that the bill “does not keep workers in their jobs and guarantee the certainty of paychecks.”
Jayapal was the only member of the PCC to vote against the bill, though nine other PCC lawmakers did not vote.
Conor Lamb (Pa.)
Lamb, 35, said that lawmakers needed to work harder to find “common ground” when crafting legislation to help Americans during the pandemic.
“People in western Pennsylvania and all over the country have sacrificed a lot during this crisis. They expect us to put politics aside, work together, and focus on defeating the coronavirus,” Lamb said. “This bill is not focused, it was rushed to a vote too fast, and it doesn’t help us accomplish that core mission.”
Elaine Luria (Va.)
Luria noted that the HEROES Act would double the federal spending for the fiscal year and said spending of that scale needed input from both parties.
“Congress has a responsibility to work together to deliver results, especially during a public health emergency and an economic crisis,” she said. “A spending bill of this magnitude must be approached in a bipartisan manner and utilize a transparent process where Democrats and Republicans come together to identify the most impactful solutions.”
Ben McAdams (Utah)
McAdams called the bill a partisan “wish-list,” saying that too many provisions in the HEROES Act strayed from the actual goal of helping the country.
“At a time when thousands of people are sick, millions are out of work, and small businesses face bankruptcy, we should be laser-focused on a strategy that opens up business and gets people back to work while also addressing the public health crisis caused by this virus,” McAdams said. “Republicans and Democrats need to come together on a plan to put this crisis behind us and not waste time with party politics.”
Kurt Schrader (Ore.)
Schrader, who’s been in Congress since 2009, has compiled one of the more conservative voting records among Democrats. The 68-year-old went against his party two other times recently, voting against a House resolution condemning President Trump’s military actions against Iran and against a resolution that sought to limit the president’s ability to use military force against Iran.
Abigail Spanberger (Va.)
Spanberger said that some members of her party used the package as a chance to make “political statements,” turning the HEREOS Act into legislation that has “no chance at becoming law.”
“As the shockwaves of this pandemic continue, I have a responsibility to be honest with the people of Central Virginia, including those who are suffering, sick, losing their jobs, or losing their businesses,” Spanberger said. “In the face of this crisis, they expect our government to work together quickly to provide real relief for those who need it most.”
Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.)
Torres Small, 35, is in her first term serving New Mexico’s 2nd District. She beat Republican challenger Yvette Herrell by fewer than 4,000 votes in 2018.
Susan Wild (Pa.)
“Now is the time to bring our nation together around solutions that will improve the lives of Americans who are hurting, not engage in partisan gamesmanship,” Wild said in a statement.
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