Hoyer: House won’t pass any parts of the $3 trillion HEROES Act separately ‘at this time’
On GOP opposition to voting by proxy: “It is ludicrous, in my opinion, that a member has to be in a single physical place to cast their vote.”
May 26, 2020 - 4:27pm
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday dismissed the idea of passing parts of the $3 trillion HEROES Act as stand-alone bills, amid opposition to the stimulus bill from Senate Republicans.
Republicans have called the overall measure a "wish list" and objected to several parts of the bill – including vote-by-mail rules, which require all states to mail out ballots automatically to voters for the November election.
The legislation, which is the fourth stimulus bill that the House has passed, also includes two rounds of direct stimulus payments for illegal immigrants who filed tax returns with tax ID numbers in lieu of Social Security numbers – another provision that drew criticism from the GOP.
In addition, the bill contains $1 trillion in federal funding for states and local governments.
“We are not, at this time, going to take out the state and local or the treatment or the direct assistance to individuals and small businesses portions at this point in time,” Hoyer said on a conference call with reporters.
“At this point in time, we want to keep this package together and we're hopeful that the Senate will engage on it and we can negotiate about a final product and move a final product so the American people can start getting further relief that they need,” he also said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House have indicated that they would consider a fourth stimulus package but not the HEROES Act in its current form.
During the call, Hoyer said he’s not worried about the optics of House committees working remotely and voting by proxy as the November election draws closer. Unlike the Democratic-led House, the Republican-led Senate has not voted to change the rules to permit proxy voting on legislation during public emergencies.
“I really don’t [worry] and it is ironic,” said Hoyer, referring to criticism from some Senate Republicans who have argued that proxy voting on bills limits debate and the amendment process for legislation.
“I see it as disingenuous. I see it as a political posture without merit. The fact of the matter is, the Senate, in the last big bill that we passed, did it by unanimous consent. They haven’t done HEROES but for the last bill there were three, four, five people on the floor, I think,” said Hoyer, referring to the passage of $484 billion in added Paycheck Protection Program funding by unanimous consent with six senators present on the floor.
“So it is ludicrous, in my opinion, that member A has to be in a single physical place to cast their vote on behalf of the American people or at least the 750,000 they represent,” he also said.
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