Progressives are expected to vote against the new coronavirus relief package on Friday.
The HEROES Act, unveiled earlier this week and headed to a vote tomorrow, could end up dividing the Democratic caucus. Progressives had made their reservations about the relief package known earlier. Pramila Jayapal had even gone through the things the package didn’t cover to express her disappointment at the time.
With more than 33 million people filing for unemployment in 7 weeks, workers are looking for certainty about how we end mass unemployment and how they’ll get their next paycheck.
This legislation doesn't end mass unemployment and it doesn't get paychecks back into their pockets.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) May 13, 2020
However, she didn’t explicitly say she will vote against the act. Now, it looks like she will.
In a statement on her congressional website, Rep Jayapal explained her reasons for voting against the coronavirus relief bill.
In her statement, Jayapal acknowledges the important provisions the package introduces. However, the things the legislation misses out on are too important to ignore. The chair of the progressive caucus went on to list the specific provisions the relief package doesn’t ensure such as affordable healthcare, forgivable loans to minority-run businesses, and safeguarding of pensions.
Jayapal is also on one of the task forces in Joe Biden’s campaign to help the presumptive nominee frame his policy positions.
Other Progressives Could Vote Against Relief Package
Rep Jayapal isn’t the only progressive in Congress who finds the relief package unsatisfactory. Rep. Ro Khanna confirmed he will vote against bringing the legislation to the House floor. Rep Omar also voted no on the rule vote. All in all, fourteen House Democrats voted against bringing the bill to the floor. Nine of them were from the progressive caucus.
I am voting no on the rule. We have a healthcare crisis yet no expansion of Medicaid or Medicare. FDR didn’t talk about employer retirement accounts. LBJ didn’t talk about voting rights in some precincts. They would have scoffed at Cobra to private companies. Need bold leadership
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) May 15, 2020
I’m a no on today’s rule vote.
In the biggest crisis since the Great Depression, we should be leading with bold ideas that meet the scale of the crisis.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 15, 2020
While Khanna and Omar did vote ‘no’ on the rule, there is no guarantee they will vote against the bill as well. Rep Occasio-Cortez, who was the only Democrat to vote against a relief package in April, is also likely to vote no on the rule vote.
One of the most famous progressives in the US, Senator Sanders, is also unhappy with the relief package. On Thursday, the Vermont Senator said the House should make improvements to the bill before sending it to the Senate.
Rep Pocan and Rep Jayapal, co-chairs of the Progressive caucus, earlier asked the leadership to extend the vote in order to make some changes to the relief package. Pelosi struck the request down and urged Democrats in the House to unite.
Pelosi Wants to Move Ahead
Speaker Pelosi has made it clear she wants to move ahead with the vote. Before the relief package came to the House, there were many stories about how Pelosi invited members from different caucuses in her party, including progressives, to make suggestions.
It seems now many suggestions from the progressives in the House have not made it to the $3T coronavirus relief package. Despite internal struggles, Speaker Pelosi will move forward with the bill. On the day the relief package became public and criticism from progressives was forthcoming, Pelosi called for unity and confirmed the vote will take place on Friday.
While the relief package will most likely go through the House despite opposition from progressives, its fate in the Senate remains uncertain. Senate Republicans dismissed the possibility of the bill’s passage.
Between contestations from progressives and opposition from the GOP, the relief package is already in perilous waters. These divisions between progressives and the rest of the party on the relief package again underline the problems Joe Biden might face as he tries to unite the party. It is too early to say whether he will succeed or not, but the scale of the challenge is apparent.
(Image Credit – Wikipedia)