UPDATED: SWFL congressmen split three ways on major Coronavirus vote

US_Capitol_west_side 3-2-19

March 14, 2020 by David Silverberg

Updated 5:00 pm with statements.

Southwest Florida’s congressmen split three ways on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (House Resolution 6201), passed last night by a vote of 363 to 40.

The bill provides for free Coronavirus testing, paid sick leave, employer protections for health care workers, food assistance and unemployment benefits during the Coronavirus pandemic. It was endorsed by President Donald Trump in cooperation with House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12-Calif.).

Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19-Fla.) was absent from the voting. He has not issued any statement as of this update.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) voted for the bill.

In a tweet he stated: “Tonight, I proudly voted for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a bill that will provide much-needed additional resources to expand our testing capabilities and accessibility, and it will also ensure that American families are prepared to address this pandemic.”

Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.) voted against it, along with 39 other Republicans. Late Saturday afternoon he issued a statement explaining his reason:

“Last week, I voted for $8.3 billion in funding to directly address the Coronavirus outbreak in the United States. This funding sped up the development of vaccines, increased access to testing and treatment, and expanded access to telemedicine services.This package also included nearly $1 billion for state and local response,$300 million for the CDC’s Infectious Diseases Rapid Response,and much more. Yesterday, the president declared a National Emergency, which opened up an additional $50 billion that we can use to address the outbreak. The bill that was rushed to the floor early this morning­ with only 30 minutes to review over 100 pages-expanded unemployment insurance and welfare programs, increased additional spending not related to the Coronavirus without an offset to the deficit, placed mandates on private companies, temporarily removed work requirements from SNAP, and allowed for uncapped federal spending. The bill was filled with policy positions I could not in good conscience support.”

Allen Ellison, Steube’s Democratic challenger, also issued a tweet stating: “In the face of a pandemic, #RepGregSteube voted “NAY” on the #Coronavirus Relief Bill: #HR6201. Whether it’s hurricane relief or environmental protection, he has failed the residents of FL. It’s time to chart a new path forward. Together we can do this.”

Liberty lives in light

© 2020 by David Silverberg


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