The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has passed the most expensive legislation ever approved in history—a $3 trillion behemoth of a bill aimed at providing coronavirus relief—despite the fact that the Republican-run Senate is unlikely to even take it up.
What are the details?
The legislation, called the HEROES Act, was pushed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and passed by a vote of 208-199. A single Republican, Rep. Steve King (N.Y.) voted for the bill, and fourteen Democrats broke with their party in opposing it.
Fox News reported:
The legislation includes $915 billion in state and local aid that could prevent layoffs of public workers, like first responders and teachers; a new $200 billion 'heroes' fund for hazard pay for essential workers; $100 billion for K-12 and higher education and $85 billion for coronavirus testing.
The legislation aims to get more money into the pockets of American hard-hit by widespread business closures. Eligible individuals would receive $1,200 checks for each person in their household, up to $6,000.
The bill extends add-on unemployment benefits of $600 payments, in addition to state benefits, through January 2021, creates a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act exchanges for the uninsured and provides $175 billion for families to pay their mortgages and rent. The legislation includes student loan forgiveness, an employee retention tax credit and increases maximum SNAP benefits, which are currently $768 a month, by 15 percent.
"But," the outlet noted, "tucked into the legislation are provisions that rankled the Republicans including expanding $1,200 checks to certain undocumented immigrants, restoring the full State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT) that helps individuals in high-taxed blue states, a $25 billion rescue for the U.S. Postal Service, allowing legal marijuana businesses to access banking services and early voting and vote-by-mail provisions."
According to The Hill, the HEROES Act was drafted by House Democrats without any consultation with Republicans. Speaker Pelosi said of the bill, 'We're putting our offer on the table. We're open to negotiation."
ABC News reported that earlier this week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the bill would be "dead on arrival" in the upper chamber, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said of the legislation, "This week, the Speaker published an 1,800-page seasonal catalog of left-wing oddities and called it a coronavirus relief bill." He added, "Here we go again."