Revised coronavirus stimulus package gets blocked in House

Dec 24, 2020

Congress will have to reconvene for a full House vote in Washington Monday if they want to pass a new stimulus package. 

Credit Architect of the Captiol / aoc.gov

Democratic party leaders in Congress tried to get a unanimous consent vote from the Republican leadership this morning to advance the new bill right away, but the GOP struck that measure down.

Democratic Congressman from Buffalo Brian Higgins said the latest issues with getting an adequate stimulus package passed shows the lack of leadership from Washington throughout the pandemic.      

“This is not a way to run a government, this is a 22-and-a-half trillion dollar economy,” Higgins said. “This is largely a consequence of the ineptitude of the federal government to respond to COVID-19 in a much more effective way to keep our people safe and secure.”

The original $900 billion stimulus package was passed in bi-partisan fashion and included such funding like $325 billion for small business, $30 billion for vaccine acquisition, and a $600 check per person. President Trump voiced displeasure after its passage, wanting $2,000 payments instead of $600. His hint to not sign or even veto the legislation triggered the new talks in Congress. 

Higgins said with the bi-partisan manner of the last stimulus package, he can’t understand why this increased bill suggested by the President cannot. 

“It defies rational thinking,” said Higgins. “The bottom line here is we voted for a COVID relief bill, a disaster relief bill, that was too late, too limited, and too light. That said, something is better than nothing.”

There is also more at risk than just direct relief funding, but also the federal unemployment benefits which started as a result of the pandemic, with those set to expire Saturday. Even larger, the federal budget for the new year is actually tied in with COVID-19 relief package, a failure to pass would trigger a government shutdown.