House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package on Wednesday evening, without any Republican support and with more than a dozen Democrats voting against it. The vote on the partisan package comes as negotiations on a bipartisan deal between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin remain ongoing and uncertain.
The legislation, the largest spending bill since the Democrat-endorsed $3.4 trillion Heroes Act, managed to receive even less support from Democrats in conservative-leaning districts, many of whom were concerned about passing a bill without GOP support, reported The New York Times.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) derided Democrats for not committing to a spending bill with bipartisan support and accused them and Pelosi of not being “serious about helping Americans.”
Pay attention to who votes for this bill tonight—It would hand out taxpayer-funded checks to illegal immigrants while removing $600 million in funding for law enforcement.
Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats aren’t serious about helping Americans. https://t.co/wYHDEeE7ZI
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) October 1, 2020
In total, 18 House Democrats voted against the legislation and no Republicans voted in favor of it. However, Roll Call reports that the “largely symbolic” package could have been derailed had 10 absent GOP lawmakers voted against it.
According to Politico, many House Democrats expressed frustration with the negotiations process and personally texted Pelosi on Thursday urging her to take up Mnuchin on the Trump administration’s $1.6 trillion coronavirus package offer, which he made earlier this week.
“Republicans have put forward a serious offer and I think leadership should stay at the table and get this across the finish line,” said Congressman Ben McAdams (D-UT) on Thursday, reports Politico. “It’s a serious offer and a good faith offer, and it feels like we are close.”
“This is going nowhere, we know it’s going nowhere. This is just a vote to make people feel good,” said Congresswoman Cindy Axne (D-IA) of the Democrat-backed coronavirus legislation, reported the news agency. “I want to help people, and that means sitting at the table and getting the damn deal done.”
Axne and McAdams, both of whom flipped a red seat blue in the 2018 midterm elections, voted against the bill.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Pelosi and Mnuchin have continued to hold talks Thursday, despite the House soon leaving for recess.
“We’re still far apart,” said Pelosi on Thursday. “Hopefully, we can find our common ground on this and do so soon.”
During an interview with Bloomberg News earlier Thursday, Pelosi accused Republicans of only offering the “heel of the loaf” of bread, saying that Democrats have already come down $1.2 trillion from their original offer.
“Pretty soon we’re just having a conversation. We’re not really meeting the needs of the American people, and you really can’t just say, ‘Well, just take this.’ No, it’s a missed opportunity. We’re in a negotiation. We’re talking about money. We’re talking about values, we’re talking about the language to implement it,” said Pelosi.