Feb. 27, 2021 by David Silverberg
This morning at 2:01 am, by a vote of 219 to 212, the US House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, House Resolution 1319, providing $1.9 trillion in relief, support and COVID countermeasures.
Unsurprisingly, Southwest Florida’s members of Congress, Reps. Byron Donalds (R-19-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) and Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.), all followed the Republican Party line and voted against it.
The bill proposes providing every needy American household $1,400 in immediate cash relief. It will boost the national vaccination program by setting up federal vaccination sites and increasing testing. It will support small businesses and is projected to boost an economy badly damaged by the pandemic. (A full analysis of the impact of the plan and the need for it can be read here.)
Donalds had long opposed the bill, which was first considered by the Budget Committee, on which he sits. When the committee considered the bill on Feb. 22, he called it “bloated and misguided” and denounced it for supporting Planned Parenthood and women’s choice. He also attacked the plan in his first speech on the House floor on Feb. 3.
On Friday, Feb. 26, Donalds appeared on WJLA-TV, a local Washington, DC television station to further denounce the bill, accusing Democrats of “using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to pass just about every liberal wishlist policy.” He also said that state and local governments only needed help because they mismanaged their economies and they should imitate Florida, which has opened up despite the pandemic.
“Unfortunately in too many states and too many localities, they have decided to go with these radical, drastic lockdown policies that have hurt businesses and have hurt Americans,” he said.
(According to state official figures, as of this writing Florida has had 30,624 deaths since the start of the pandemic. According to the COVID Action Site created by dissident data scientist Rebekah Jones, the actual number is 31,162, or 538 more than the official number.)
With House passage the Recovery Plan bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to be narrowly approved.
A provision providing for a $15 minimum wage was stripped from the bill when the Senate parliamentarian ruled that it could not be included as part of a budget reconciliation bill.
Donalds vociferously opposed raising the minimum wage throughout its consideration in the House, arguing that it “will be devastating to businesses in my district and throughout our country. Democrats need to leave their radical policy echo chambers and listen to the American people.”
In a speech advocating passage, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12-Calif.) said “This legislation is transformative, lifting 12 million Americans out of poverty and generating $1.25 for every dollar spent. And a great source of pride for us all, because this legislation will cut child poverty in half.” She also vowed “we will continue our ‘Fight For 15’ [an increase in the minimum wage], which would give 27 million Americans a raise.”
Liberty lives in light
© 2021 by David Silverberg