House Democrats unveiled a massive $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill earlier this week. The proposal includes nearly $1 trillion in aid for state and local governments and another round of direct stimulus payments to residents.
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, also increases grants to small businesses and expands unemployment benefits.
Rep. Ben McAdams, Utah’s lone Democrat in Congress, says there are some elements of the proposal he likes, but right now he says he’s leaning toward voting against the bill when it comes up for a vote on Friday.
“Overall, I have a lot of concerns with the bill,” said McAdams, who was still working his way through the 1,800-page bill. “I’m probably going to vote ‘no’.”
McAdams says he’s worried the bill is overly partisan. Republicans in the Senate have said the proposal is dead on arrival if it passes the House this week.
“I’m concerned about a bill that doesn’t have buy-in from both parties and the president. We need to put that aside and work together. I want to know what the plan is to get things reopened and get people back to work,” he said. “I’m frustrated with this legislation that clearly won’t pass.”
On Wednesday the Treasury Department reported the U.S. budget deficit hit a record $738 billion in April, driven by explosive government spending and a shrinking of revenues. McAdams says that number is alarming to say the least.
“We are seeing historic levels of spending. We have to do what we need to get through this as a country, but we need to make sure we’re spending our tax dollars wisely,” he said. “It’s important that any response to the pandemic stays narrowly focused on the pandemic. This is not a time to pass a partisan wish-list.”
McAdams says he would like to see some changes to relief programs for small businesses, allowing more flexibility in lending programs designed to help keep employees on the payroll.
The Democratic proposal also includes another round of direct payments to Americans, up to $6000 per family. McAdams says instead of giving money to everybody, he’d prefer something more tailored to help those who really are in need of assistance.
“There are a lot of materials being used right now, but I’m not sure what we’re building,” he said.