Home Coronavirus Virginia’s U.S. House Delegation’s Statements, Votes on $3 Trillion Coronavirus Relief “HEROES...

Virginia’s U.S. House Delegation’s Statements, Votes on $3 Trillion Coronavirus Relief “HEROES Act”

All 4 Virginia Rs vote no; Virginia Ds vote 5-2 in favor

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See below for statements by Virginia’s U.S. House delegate for and against the $3 trillion “HEROES Act,” which passed the House last night on a mostly partisan, 208-199 vote. Among the 14 Democrats voting “nay” on this one were two from “purple”/”reddish” districts in Virginia – Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA02) and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07). Other than that, all the other Virginia Democrats – Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA03), Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA04), Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA08), Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA10), Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA11) voted yes, while the four Republicans – Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA01), Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA05), Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA06), Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA09) – predictably voted no.

Wexton Votes to Provide Critical COVID-19 Emergency Funding for States and Localities 

Washington, DC — Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) voted to pass the bipartisan Heroes Act to address the continued COVID-19 pandemic with much-needed support for those on the frontlines, funding for our public health response to the crisis, and economic assistance for American families.

“The Heroes Act delivers the urgent response required by this unprecedented public health and financial crisis — including critical funding for our states and localities that will protect the jobs of teachers, first responders, firefighters, law enforcement, and health care workers,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “We can’t sit idly by while our states risk going bankrupt, small businesses shutter their doors, and millions more Americans are laid off each week. This is a necessary step to get desperately-needed relief to those on the frontlines combatting COVID-19 and to avoid long-term financial ruin by ensuring the economy doesn’t spiral into depression.”

The Heroes Act provides Virginia’s government and local communities with robust, desperately needed funding to cover coronavirus-related outlays and revenue loss and protects the jobs of our vital workers who keep us safe.

An analysis prepared by the Congressional Research Service estimates that the Heroes Act will provide over $12 billion in state funding for the people of Virginia in addition to $1,315,309,347 in urgently needed funding for localities in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. A full breakdown of the estimated funding to all of Virginia-10’s localities can be found here.

“The direct funding for counties and localities provided in the Heroes Act will be critical in assisting Loudoun to recover from the devastating economic impact of COVID-19.  This bill allows our County and Towns the flexibility to use these funds for lost revenues and other programmatic areas associated with the pandemic. I applaud Congresswoman Wexton for her hard work on this bill,” said Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair At-Large, Phyllis J. Randall. 

“Our current health and economic crisis require a bold response. The Heroes Act meets the need of the moment. Thank you, Congresswoman Wexton for your support of the Heroes Act and for working tirelessly to ensure direct aid to states and localities was included in the legislation. As a county with 470,000 residents, Prince William fell just shy of the population threshold required for receipt of direct aid in prior federal recovery funding packages. Our community remains hopeful that the next distribution of federal funds will be different,” said Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chair At-Large, Ann Wheeler.

“As we continue all efforts to keep people safe in Winchester, we face many other challenges. Businesses are struggling, workers are relying on unemployment, families are facing financial hardships, and essential local government services must continue despite a drastic drop in tax revenues. We are encouraged by the passing of the Heroes Act for a much-needed boost to help rebuild our local economy and bring relief to our entire community. On behalf of the City of Winchester, I want to thank Congresswoman Wexton for her hard work and continued support of Virginia’s localities,” said Winchester Mayor John David Smith, Jr.

The Heroes Act also contains many other important provisions including:

Additional Economic Stimulus Payments — Provides $1,200 payment per taxpayer as well as an increased $1,200 per dependent for a maximum of $6,000 per family, and retroactively expands CARES Act $500 qualifying child payments to all dependents including full-time students and adult dependents.

Extension of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation — Extends the $600 per week additional federal unemployment benefits through January 31, 2021 to provide relief for the more than 36 million Americans who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

Emergency Rental Assistance — $100 billion for an Emergency Rental Assistance program to help renters pay their rent and utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic, and help rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs.

Assistance to Homeowners — $75 billion to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due directly or indirectly to the impacts of the pandemic by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs.

Testing, Tracing, and Treatment — Additional $75 billion for COVID-19 testing, tracing and isolation measures, and to ensure that every American can get the treatment they need for free.

A “Heroes’ Fund” for Hazard Pay — $200 billion to ensure that essential workers who have risked their lives working during the pandemic receive hazard pay.

Preserving Health Benefits for Workers (COBRA) — Provides approximately nine months of full premium subsidies to allow workers to maintain their employer sponsored health care coverage if they are eligible for COBRA due to a layoff or reduction in hours, and for workers who have been furloughed but are still active in their employer sponsored plan.

ACA Special Enrollment Period — Establishes a two-month open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act exchanges to allow individuals who are uninsured to obtain coverage.

EIDL Grants for Small Businesses — Additional $10 billion for grants to small businesses that have suffered financial losses as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

PPP Loan Forgiveness — Extends the covered period for borrowers through the end of the year and amends the program to give small business owners more flexibility in how they can use their PPP funds.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — $10 billion to meet anticipated additional need and cover costs related to flexibilities provided to SNAP by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

U.S. Postal Service — $25 billion for lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to maintain the critical services of the Postal Service in this crisis.

Broadband Access — $1.5 billion to close the “homework” gap by providing funding for Wi-Fi hotspots and connectivity devices for students and library patrons, and $4 billion for emergency home connectivity needs.

Elimination on SALT Deduction Caps — Eliminates the limits on the deduction for state and local taxes for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2020 and on or before December 31, 2021.

Teleworking Requirements for Federal Employees and Contractors — Requires agency leaders to allow and incentivize telework for all eligible federal employees, including contractors, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSF Disinformation Research — $1 million for a National Academies study on the spread of disinformation related to COVID-19 online and on social media, a provision included by Congresswoman Wexton.

Funding for Education Programs — $100.15 billion to support the educational needs of states, school districts, and institutions of higher education in response to COVID-19, to be used for: school-based services for impacted students, families, and staff; sanitation costs; and the purchasing of educational technology.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs — $100 million, with a waiver of the local match requirement, for programs to combat violence against women and support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

A one-pager on the Heroes Act can be found here. A summary of the sections of the bill can be found here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 15, 2020
Rep. McEachin Applauds House Passage of the Heroes Act, Benefits for Virginia and Local Communities & Counties 

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today applauded the passage of the Heroes Act, the latest legislation to address the continued public health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. The legislation provides urgently-needed support for struggling families and essential workers; funds for testing and tracing measures; key support for frontline workers; and strengthened assistance for the American people.

The Heroes Act provides the Commonwealth of Virginia and local communities on the frontlines of this crisis with robust, desperately-needed funding to cover coronavirus-related outlays and revenue loss and pay our healthcare workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers, and other vital workers who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs.

“Congress must lead the nation through this crisis with common-sense and compassion,” said Rep. McEachin. “Our lives and the well-being of our communities are threatened if our healthcare, police, fire, EMS, teachers, and other vital workers do not have the support that they need. Passage of the Heroes Act will protect the livelihoods of frontline heroes risking their lives to care for our communities and provide workers and families with relief urgently-needed to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Congressman McEachin worked diligently to ensure that the priorities of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District were included in this legislation, specifically:

  • Coverage for COVID-19 treatment for Medicare beneficiaries;
    • H.R. 6727 introduced by Congressman McEachin holds Medicare beneficiaries harmless for specific COVID-19 treatment services furnished under part A or part B of the Medicare program – (Section 30201)
  • Incentivizing state and local governments to end water shutoffs;
    • The Home Energy and Water Service Continuity follows Congressman McEachin’s May letter to House leadership urging a prohibition of water shutoffs for municipalities and county governments receiving federal COVID-19 relief aid – (Section 190701)
  • Ensuring EPA environmental justice efforts continue during the pandemic; and
    • H.R. 6692 introduced by Congressman McEachin requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to continue to carry out certain programs relating to environmental justice, and for other purposes – (Section 190702)
  • Bolstering emergency funding for colleges and universities
    • Following Congressman McEachin’s April letter to leadership requesting increased funding for universities, the Heroes Act includes more than $10 billion to help alleviate burdens associated with the coronavirus for both colleges and students, including $1.7 billion for HBCUs and MSIs, and $8.4 billion for other institutions of higher education – (Division O – Education Provisions and Other Programs)

The Heroes Act also includes a $90 billion fund to support state and local public education, including $2,020,418 for communities across Virginia.  This funding will help maintain or restore state and local fiscal support for elementary, secondary, and public higher education and can be used to meet a wide range of urgent needs, including summer learning, afterschool programs, distance learning, and emergency financial aid for college students, as well as coordination with public health departments to mitigate the spread of disease.

In addition to resources for our state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, the Heroes Act provides transformative, far-reaching support to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people and the life of our democracy.

  • Provides strong support for our heroes by establishing a $200 billion Heroes’ fund to ensure that essential workers across the country receive hazard pay.
  • Commits another $75 billion for the testing, tracing, and treatment we need in order to have a science-based path to safely reopen our country and helping ensure that every American can access free coronavirus treatment.
  • Puts money in the pockets of workers with a second round of direct payments to families up to $6,000 per household, new payroll protection measures to keep 60 million workers connected with their paychecks and benefits, and extending weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January.
  • Supports small businesses by strengthening the Payroll Protection Program to ensure that it reaches underserved communities, nonprofits of all sizes and types, and responds flexibly to small businesses by providing $10 billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
  • Ensures further support for Virginians and all Americans, including for:
    • Health security – with COBRA subsidies and a special enrollment period in the ACA exchanges for those without insurance.
    • Workplace security – requiring OSHA to ensure that all workplaces develop science-based infection control plans and preventing employers from retaliating against workers who report problems.
    • Housing security – with $175 billion in new supports to assist renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments, and other housing-related costs.
    • Food security – with a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table.
  • Protects the life of our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service.

“We cannot pause while so many families in our communities are struggling,” continued Rep. McEachin. “We have a responsibility to do what is necessary now to protect the health and well-being of all of our communities. With the Heroes Act, House Democrats honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes and meet the needs of the American people today and through the coronavirus crisis.”

Wexton Votes to Provide Critical COVID-19 Emergency Funding for States and Localities

Washington, DC — Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) voted to pass the bipartisan Heroes Act to address the continued COVID-19 pandemic with much-needed support for those on the frontlines, funding for our public health response to the crisis, and economic assistance for American families.

“The Heroes Act delivers the urgent response required by this unprecedented public health and financial crisis — including critical funding for our states and localities that will protect the jobs of teachers, first responders, firefighters, law enforcement, and health care workers,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “We can’t sit idly by while our states risk going bankrupt, small businesses shutter their doors, and millions more Americans are laid off each week. This is a necessary step to get desperately-needed relief to those on the frontlines combatting COVID-19 and to avoid long-term financial ruin by ensuring the economy doesn’t spiral into depression.”

The Heroes Act provides Virginia’s government and local communities with robust, desperately needed funding to cover coronavirus-related outlays and revenue loss and protects the jobs of our vital workers who keep us safe.

An analysis prepared by the Congressional Research Service estimates that the Heroes Act will provide over $12 billion in state funding for the people of Virginia in addition to $1,315,309,347 in urgently needed funding for localities in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. A full breakdown of the estimated funding to all of Virginia-10’s localities can be found here.

“The direct funding for counties and localities provided in the Heroes Act will be critical in assisting Loudoun to recover from the devastating economic impact of COVID-19.  This bill allows our County and Towns the flexibility to use these funds for lost revenues and other programmatic areas associated with the pandemic. I applaud Congresswoman Wexton for her hard work on this bill,” said Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair At-Large, Phyllis J. Randall. 

“Our current health and economic crisis require a bold response. The Heroes Act meets the need of the moment. Thank you, Congresswoman Wexton for your support of the Heroes Act and for working tirelessly to ensure direct aid to states and localities was included in the legislation. As a county with 470,000 residents, Prince William fell just shy of the population threshold required for receipt of direct aid in prior federal recovery funding packages. Our community remains hopeful that the next distribution of federal funds will be different,” said Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chair At-Large, Ann Wheeler.

“As we continue all efforts to keep people safe in Winchester, we face many other challenges. Businesses are struggling, workers are relying on unemployment, families are facing financial hardships, and essential local government services must continue despite a drastic drop in tax revenues. We are encouraged by the passing of the Heroes Act for a much-needed boost to help rebuild our local economy and bring relief to our entire community. On behalf of the City of Winchester, I want to thank Congresswoman Wexton for her hard work and continued support of Virginia’s localities,” said Winchester Mayor John David Smith, Jr.

The Heroes Act also contains many other important provisions including:

Additional Economic Stimulus Payments — Provides $1,200 payment per taxpayer as well as an increased $1,200 per dependent for a maximum of $6,000 per family, and retroactively expands CARES Act $500 qualifying child payments to all dependents including full-time students and adult dependents.

Extension of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation — Extends the $600 per week additional federal unemployment benefits through January 31, 2021 to provide relief for the more than 36 million Americans who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

Emergency Rental Assistance — $100 billion for an Emergency Rental Assistance program to help renters pay their rent and utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic, and help rental property owners of all sizes continue to cover their costs.

Assistance to Homeowners — $75 billion to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due directly or indirectly to the impacts of the pandemic by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs.

Testing, Tracing, and Treatment — Additional $75 billion for COVID-19 testing, tracing and isolation measures, and to ensure that every American can get the treatment they need for free.

A “Heroes’ Fund” for Hazard Pay — $200 billion to ensure that essential workers who have risked their lives working during the pandemic receive hazard pay.

Preserving Health Benefits for Workers (COBRA) — Provides approximately nine months of full premium subsidies to allow workers to maintain their employer sponsored health care coverage if they are eligible for COBRA due to a layoff or reduction in hours, and for workers who have been furloughed but are still active in their employer sponsored plan.

ACA Special Enrollment Period — Establishes a two-month open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act exchanges to allow individuals who are uninsured to obtain coverage.

EIDL Grants for Small Businesses — Additional $10 billion for grants to small businesses that have suffered financial losses as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

PPP Loan Forgiveness — Extends the covered period for borrowers through the end of the year and amends the program to give small business owners more flexibility in how they can use their PPP funds.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — $10 billion to meet anticipated additional need and cover costs related to flexibilities provided to SNAP by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

U.S. Postal Service — $25 billion for lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to maintain the critical services of the Postal Service in this crisis.

Broadband Access — $1.5 billion to close the “homework” gap by providing funding for Wi-Fi hotspots and connectivity devices for students and library patrons, and $4 billion for emergency home connectivity needs.

Elimination on SALT Deduction Caps — Eliminates the limits on the deduction for state and local taxes for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2020 and on or before December 31, 2021.

Teleworking Requirements for Federal Employees and Contractors — Requires agency leaders to allow and incentivize telework for all eligible federal employees, including contractors, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSF Disinformation Research — $1 million for a National Academies study on the spread of disinformation related to COVID-19 online and on social media, a provision included by Congresswoman Wexton.

Funding for Education Programs — $100.15 billion to support the educational needs of states, school districts, and institutions of higher education in response to COVID-19, to be used for: school-based services for impacted students, families, and staff; sanitation costs; and the purchasing of educational technology.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs — $100 million, with a waiver of the local match requirement, for programs to combat violence against women and support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

A one-pager on the Heroes Act can be found here. A summary of the sections of the bill can be found here.

***************************

Beyer To Vote Yes On Heroes Act

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today announced that he will vote for the Heroes Act when it comes to the House Floor for final passage this evening. The broad relief legislation is expected to pass on with bipartisan support.

Beyer said:

“The Heroes Act takes strong steps to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic devastation. It contains key provisions I sought, and I fully support it. This is the kind of far-reaching and forward-thinking approach that Congress must take to protect American lives and livelihoods.

“The Heroes Act ensures that public health officials will have the resources they need to test, trace, and isolate coronavirus cases to allow for the safe reopening of businesses. The also requires better standards to ensure that American workers return to safe workplaces, and creates an ample fund to support frontline workers. It also contains major priorities for my constituents, including support for voting by mail, the U.S. Postal Service, the Census, and the District Columbia.

“There were things that I wanted to see in this bill that did not get in, especially my legislation to attach expanded unemployment benefits to automatic triggers which would ensure that workers get the help they need as long as the crisis continues. But the Heroes Act does extend those benefits into 2021, and contains enormous rental assistance along with boosts to nutritional supports. The direct payments in this bill would really help working families, and the small business assistance reflects priorities I pushed hard for over the past month.

“I am particularly proud to see such strong support for state and local governments, which we at the Joint Economic Committee called for early in the crisis. Those like Mitch McConnell who would let states and municipalities go bankrupt would inflict mass layoffs on health workers, teachers, police, and firefighters, making the country less safe and a depression more likely. This bill correctly treats the pandemic and economic crisis as an emergency, and takes strong steps to improve the health response and plant the seeds for a robust recovery, which is exactly what Congress should be doing.”

Beyer serves as Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, which issued a report early in the economic crisis outlining the need for major federal support for state and local governments. He expressed his intention to continue to building support for the Worker Relief and Security Act, which would tie expanded unemployment benefits to public health and economic conditions, in an interview with the New York Times this week.

Beyer was an early supporter of direct payments to every American, and helped advance a proposal in the House to enact the policy. He has also been a vocal leader in assessing and correcting problems with CARES Act programs intended to assist small businesses.

The Heroes Act provides Virginia government and local communities on the frontlines of this crisis with substantial, desperately needed funding to cover coronavirus-related outlays and revenue loss and prevent layoffs of health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers who keep us safe. It also includes a $90 billion fund to support state and local public education.

In addition to resources for state, local, tribal and territorial governments, the Heroes Act provides transformative, far-reaching support to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people and the life of our democracy.

  • Commits another $75 billion for the testing, tracing and treatment we need in order to have a science-based path to safely reopen our country and helping ensure that every American can access free coronavirus treatment.
  • Corrects unjust discrimination against the District of Columbia with a retroactive change to the CARES Act that restores D.C. to its normal treatment as a state for purposes of distributing federal grants. The fix would direct nearly $800 million in additional CARES Act funds to the District.
  • Provides strong support for frontline workers by establishing a $200 billion Heroes’ fund to ensure that essential workers across the country receive hazard pay.
  • Puts money in the pockets of workers with a second round of direct payments to families up to $6,000 per household, new payroll protection measures to keep 60 million workers connected with their jobs and extending weekly $600 federal unemployment payments into 2021.
  • Supports small businesses by strengthening the Payroll Protection Program to ensure that it reaches underserved communities, nonprofits of all sizes and types and responds flexibly to small businesses by providing $10 billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
  • Protects our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service.
  • Ensures further support for Virginians and all Americans, including for:

************

Spanberger Opposes Heroes Act, Urges Bipartisan & Bicameral Cooperation to Push COVID-19 Response Legislation that Can Be Signed into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today released the following statement announcing her opposition to the Heroes Act, a proposed $3 trillion stimulus package the U.S House will vote on later today.

“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. In the face of this crisis, they expect our government to work together quickly to provide real relief for those who need it most. Unfortunately, many Members of Congress — including some in my own party — have decided to use this package as an opportunity to make political statements and propose a bill that goes far beyond pandemic relief and has no chance at becoming law, further delaying the help so many need. Therefore, I will respectfully vote against this bill.

“Since this crisis began, I’ve built bipartisan coalitions to advocate for the issues that matter most to the Seventh District — including direct funding for our counties, expanded high-speed internet access for our rural communities, and much-needed relief to our small businesses and individuals. These priorities mark a foundation for the House, Senate, and administration to find common ground. At this time, we must come together to build a targeted, timely relief package that avoids partisan posturing and instead prioritizes combatting our nationwide public health emergency, addressing catastrophic unemployment rates, and protecting the security of the next generation.”

BACKGROUND

Since this pandemic began, Spanberger has been fighting for the priorities of the Seventh District and has worked to build bipartisan coalitions to make progress on these issues, including:

  • Providing direct, urgent relief to Central Virginia’s counties and localities. Last month, Spanberger led a 102-Member effort — Republicans and Democrats — calling for the inclusion of relief funding to localities in the next stimulus package, as well as greater flexibility for county governments of all sizes as they address budget shortfalls.
  • Expanding high-speed internet access across Central Virginia’s rural communities. Last month, Spanberger led an effort pushing for additional E-rate funding to help bridge the immediacy of the digital divide during this crisis. Additionally, she brought together 70-plus Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle advocating for historic federal investments in our country’s high-speed broadband internet infrastructure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Fixing issues with federal assistance to Central Virginia small businesses and workers. Last month, Spanberger brought Democrats and Republicans together to push for the elimination of restrictive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness requirements in the next iteration of COVID-19-related emergency legislation. Additionally, she led a bipartisan effort calling on the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department to eliminate the PPP’s burdensome 75 percent rule.
  • Improving the nation’s COVID-19 testing strategy. Earlier this week, Spanberger introduced bipartisan legislation to require a comprehensive investigation into the development, regulation, and deployment of COVID-19 diagnostic tests since the pandemic began — and to help plan for future outbreaks.

Griffith Opposes Speaker Pelosi’s $3 Trillion Wish List

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) issued the following statement opposing H.R. 6800, the House Democrat bill to be voted on in the House of Representatives Friday evening:

“I’m voting against H.R. 6800, Speaker Pelosi’s $3 trillion, 1,815 page long liberal wish list. Her bill outrageously attempts to use the present crisis to radically transform America.

“Among other preposterous provisions, H.R. 6800 repeals the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap for two years. This is a giveaway to the wealthy in high-tax states with virtually no benefit to anyone else.

“It suspends immigration enforcement and allows illegal immigrants to collect economic impact payments.

“It seizes control of administering elections from the states and forbids voter ID.

“It rewards collecting unemployment over work in certain circumstances, when the country is starting to get back to work.

“It provides hundreds of billions to states and local governments, some of which have made poor financial choices for decades. While relief to states and local government in response to the coronavirus may be called for, bailouts for bad budgeting are not.

“These provisions, and many others, have no place in a bill meant to help the people who are hurting from the coronavirus and its economic impact. There are even a few provisions that I would support buried in these 1,800+ pages, but this is not the appropriate bill to include them.

“We must continue to address the immense problem before us: the coronavirus and the economic damage it has inflicted. I’ve supported the several bills Congress has already passed that, while not perfect, were focused on the problem at hand. H.R. 6800 shows that Speaker Pelosi has other priorities, and those priorities aren’t helping the American people during this crisis.”

Rep. Cline Statement on H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act

May 15, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ben Cline (VA-06) released the following statement regarding the upcoming vote on H.R. 6800 – the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act.

“Instead of focusing on addressing the economic and health care challenges of the coronavirus, this legislation is an 1800-page liberal wish-list, full of trillions of taxpayer dollars spent on programs entirely unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cline said. “The bill explodes the size and scope of the Federal Government and is nothing more than a political move by Speaker Pelosi to appease the left-wing faction of her caucus.”

“Until now, COVID-19 relief legislation has been relatively bipartisan. Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi’s most recent proposal is anything but, and her sole reliance on Democrats for input has made this process all the more divisive. Her refusal to negotiate with the White House and Senate Majority means the bill is dead on arrival if and when it reaches the Senate. In a crisis like this, it is irresponsible to pass a partisan bill that has no chance of being signed into law.”

“Rather than considering a targeted bill addressing the dire economic and health situation we’re facing, Members are instead being asked to vote on a slew of provisions unassociated with the pandemic. In addition to extending Medicaid coverage to illegal aliens, H.R. 6800 also removes voter ID requirements,  bails out failing state and local governments, and expands mandates on employers. Further, it provides millions to the National Endowment for the Arts, authorizes the release of federal prisoners, and repeals work requirments for welfare. With millions unemployed, businesses suffering, and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, Americans deserve better than this bill, and therefore, I will be voting no on H.R. 6800.”

Full text of H.R. 6800 can be found here.

Congressman Ben Cline represents the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia. He previously was an attorney in private practice and served both as an assistant prosecutor and Member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Cline and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Botetourt County with their two children.