Congress, still unable to come together on COVID-19 relief, kicks can down the road
The House, in the middle of a pandemic, on the cusp of the holidays, has had to pass another stopgap funding measure to avoid a government shutdown.
And, yes, this is getting ridiculous.
“Tonight’s vote is just one more example of a broken pattern of moving from one impending budgetary disaster to another,” Seventh District Democrat Abigail Spanberger said after the 320-60 vote to avoid a shutdown with funding set to run out at midnight tonight.
They’re fighting over, what else, money.
Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, the picture in the dictionary beside the term strange bedfellows, are pushing for COVID-19 relief to include a direct payment of $1,200 for every working-class American, $2,400 for couples, and $500 for children.
“If this country means anything, if the U.S. government means anything, it means that we cannot turn our backs on that suffering, and that we cannot leave Washington for the holidays to go back to our families unless we address the pain and anxiety of other families throughout this country,” Sanders said.
Congressional leaders – channeling Scrooge – have been discussing a far smaller amount at $600 for individuals.
The stopgap bill passed today funds government operations through Sunday.
Kicking the can down the road.
“In just a few days, Congress will once again need to vote to maintain the very functioning of our government. The American people deserve better than watching their elected officials use federal employees, government operations, and the security of our borders, airways, and country as bargaining tools – particularly when both parties should be in agreement on the obvious and long-overdue need for emergency COVID-19 relief,” Spanberger said.
“Early in this pandemic, Congress responded to the COVID-19 crisis as a united, bipartisan front – but as a dire, painful need for aid persisted throughout the country, lawmakers in both parties abandoned that spirit. They refused to hammer out their differences and recognize the severity of the crisis at hand. In this current moment – when millions of Americans are facing hunger, eviction, or the effects of a job loss, Congress cannot delay in passing a relief package. As we rapidly approach the holidays, I will keep fighting to make sure that neither the House nor the Senate head home until a bipartisan, bicameral bill is sent to the president’s desk and signed into law. Central Virginians have waited far too long for progress,” Spanberger said.
Story by Chris Graham