WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ The House is scheduled to vote on the nation’s fifth coronavirus relief bill, which would send money to state and local governments, include more direct payments to individuals and families, and provide hazard pay for those on the front lines of the pandemic.
If passed, it would add $3 trillion to what Congress is spending to fight the virus.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, says that the HEROES Act will provide desperately-needed relief.
“We hear a lot in Congress about how much people love the states and the cities and the towns, now is the chance to show it.” Raskin said.
Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, and Joe Morelle, D-New York, say the bill is bold, but necessary.
“Both from a health perspective and an economic perspective, this is a rescue package,” DeLauro said.
“Our biggest mistake would be to not invest enough in America,” Morelle added.
The bill also provides $75 billion for testing and contact tracing. Lawmakers say the economic crisis can’t be solved unless the health crisis is addressed first.
But without Republican support in the Senate, some are calling the bill dead on arrival – and just an attempt to send a message. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, argues that it needs to be more than that.
“I don’t give a damn about sending a message, madame speaker, I want to send help to those in desperate need,” he said.
Rep. Tom Reed, R-New York, believes the bill goes too far.
“They’re going to through this political theater, we’re continuing to work across the aisle in a bicameral, bipartisan way to get something to the president’s desk,” Reed said.
Lawmakers also voted on a rule change that allows some lawmakers to work remotely, a move that McGovern says is vitally important during these unprecedented times.
“Across the street, the Supreme Court is conducting business remotely so we ought to be able to adapt to the moment,” McGovern said.
But Republicans argue their work needs to be conducted in person.