The House of Representatives passed on Friday a $3 trillion stimulus bill, which would provide funding for state and local governments, and send a second $1,200 check to most American adults.
The bill passed by a 208-199 margin by a mostly party-line vote.
After four previous bills that were passed in bipartisan manners, Friday’s session got heated at times.
“The Republican Party said we don't have any money to help you,” prominent House Democrat Tim Ryan of Ohio said. “Are you kidding me? Where do you guys live? Food lines around the block at our food banks, in the United State of America. One in five kids are going hungry. This isn't a wish list. If it's a wish list it's for the working class people. How about the teamsters that are going to get a pension when this bill passes. If we don't act, their pension gets cut in half. This is ridiculous. You turn your back on the American people.”
“Speaker Pelosi and many of her colleagues are so anxious to appease the left and so zealous to advance their ideology they didn't even attempt to disguise this parade of oracles that are completely out of touch with the American people,” Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, responded. “Some will suggest that this legislation is so extreme, so absurd we can't take it seriously. I would submit that we can't take it seriously enough. When someone tells you who they are, believe them. This isn't just the Democrats' plan for America's recovery, it's their vision for America. I oppose it and I pray to God none of these policies see the light of day.”
The legislation will face hurdles getting through the Senate and approved by the president.
The bill also extends the Paycheck Protection Program, and expands paid sick days, family and medical leave, unemployment compensation, nutrition and food assistance programs, housing assistance, and payments to farmers. It also provides funding to USPS, which has been in a declining financial state in recent months.
Several components of the bill have drawn the ire of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump.
Earlier this week, Trump said that the bill as is would be “DOA,” because the bill provides funding for mail-in balloting for the 2020 general election. Trump has repeatedly claimed, without providing evidence to back his claims, that mail-in ballot invites fraud.
Trump added that a next phase of stimulus funding would need to include liability protection for companies. Whether he would be open to passing another round of stimulus funds, Trump said, “I don’t know, it depends.”
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also stated that companies would need to be protected from lawsuits in order for his GOP-led body to approve legislation.
McConnell said the Senate is drafting its own plan, which would provide liability protection, claiming that coronavirus-related lawsuits are dragging the economy down.
“This is exactly the kind of hostile environment that could keep our recovery from challenging to downright impossible,” McConnell said. “So the Senate Republicans are preparing a major package of COVID-19-related reliability reforms to foster our economic recovery. This package which Senator (John) Cornyn and I are spearheading would add new protections to the people who've been on the front lines of this response and those who will be on the frontlines of our reopening.”
Details of a Senate plan aren’t fully known.
The House bill includes nearly $1 trillion in funding for states and local governments, as many states and towns prepare to make massive and unprecedented cuts to local services such as police, fire and schools. Trump has in the past expressed opposition to bailing out state and local governments on the verge of financial ruin due to a lack of tax revenue.