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Pelosi's vote on massive $3 trillion HEROES Act puts centrists, other House Democrats in tight spot

The bill is expected to pass despite tighter Democratic margins than usual

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Updated: May 15, 2020 - 12:06pm

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s $3 trillion coronavirus relief package is expected to pass Friday but only by a narrow margin – as members of her moderate and progressive wings raise concerns and signal no votes.

House Republicans largely oppose the measure and are not expected to supply Pelosi with enough votes, if needed, for passage. 

Among the concerns is that the bill is roughly 1,800-pages, and members were given a relatively short time to read and debate it.

“Under no circumstances are we ready to vote on the bill this week," Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal, leader of the chamber's progressive caucus, said earlier this week.

Other concerns among the small but influential caucus is that the bill – despite being considered the biggest in U.S. history – doesn't include enough help for Americans struggling amid the pandemic. 

Democratic moderate and those in swing districts are also concerned, consider their support for such a large spending bill could hurt their chances for reelection in November. 

Rep. Kendra Horn, a moderate from Oklahoma, has said she’ll vote no on the measure, calling it a “messaging bill” that has no GOP support.

The package, whose summary alone is 90-pages, is being viewed as a “not something designed to deal with reality but designed to deal with aspirations,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It is a “totally unserious effort,” the Kentucky Republican also said. 

In addition, President Trump says he would veto the bill.

Pelosi warned members of her caucus Thursday evening about the potential impact at the polls by voting no.

“If you vote against this and all this funding for your state, then you have to go home and defend it," she said. "And if you can defend that no vote, then you’re a better politician than me.”

The bill will see at least one favorable Republican vote from moderate GOP Rep. Peter King of New York, who is not vying for reelection in his district. He did, however, say that he would be surprised if a handful of other Republicans didn’t support the measure along with him.

The House will also vote today on a change to the chamber's rules that would allow members to vote remotely via a proxy on the floor. It would also allow congressional committees to conduct hearings, markups and depositions remotely. Republicans are opposed to the rules change.