In The News
Huizenga Voices Concerns, Prepares to Vote Against Speaker Pelosi's $3 Trillion Partisan Grab Bag
Washington, May 14, 2020
In what would eclipse the CARES Act as the largest economic relief package in history, House Democrats' new HEROES Act carries a $3 trillion price tag.
The act includes items like another round of direct stimulus payments to taxpayers, hazard pay for essential workers, housing assistance and $10,000 in student loan forgiveness per borrower.
“The HEROES Act focus on three pillars: opening our economy safely and soon, honoring our heroes and then putting much-needed money into the pockets of the American people," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday.
The Senate is not expected to consider another coronavirus relief bill until after the Memorial Day recess. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Congress needs to "pause" and grasp the debt amassed by recent legislation.
Pelosi said not acting will be more expensive.
“There are those who said, ‘Let’s just pause,'" said Pelosi. "But the families who are suffering know that hunger doesn’t take a pause. The rent doesn’t take a pause. The bills don’t take a pause.”
A common criticism of the HEROES Act by Republicans is that many of its items are not directly related to coronavirus relief, like funding for Planned Parenthood and the United States Postal Service.
“Clearly this is an agenda that is out there purely for messaging and isn’t a serious attempt at dealing with what we’re going through as a country," said Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich). “This is kind of the mother of all Christmas trees of pet policies and pet projects as far as I’m concerned.”
Huizenga equated the HEROES Act to an "1,800-page press release" and said the bill has no chance of getting through Congress.
Republicans in Congress and the White House appear to have taken a wait-and-see approach, letting the CARES Act play out before considering spending trillions more.
“We’ve got to get this one right," said Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio). "And if, before we spend another trillion dollars, we’ve got to make sure we’re doing what will get people back to work and get this economy working again.”
Stivers said everything in another relief package must be directly related to coronavirus relief. He said forgiving student loans does not pass that test.
“Money would help anybody out but the best thing we can do is get people back to work," Stivers said. “While there are a lot of people that have student loan debt in this country, the best thing we can do for them back to work.”
Some polling shows many Americans want Congress to keep spending, especially if it means more money is given directly to individuals and businesses hurt by the pandemic.
A poll by ScottRasmussen.com found 82% of Democrats, 63% of Republicans and 71% of Independents support additional federal spending.
“There are some Republicans in Congress who are saying, ‘Not one more dime. Stop all spending now.’ That doesn’t go over too well," said Scott Rasmussen. "Only 14% of voters think that’s a good idea.”
Also on board with more relief spending is Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. While speaking to the Peterson Institute for International Economics Wednesday afternoon, Powell encouraged Congress to take on another massive relief package.
“Additional fiscal support could be costly but worth it if it helps avoid long term damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery," said Powell.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the House is set to vote on the HEROES Act on Friday.
This article originally appeared on WWMT on May 13th. Please note Speaker Pelosi's legislation is NOT the same as Congressman Huizenga's HEROES Act which is H.R. 6433 and was introduced on April 3rd, 2020.