Florida, Georgia lawmakers weigh in on COVID-19 bill passage
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Early Saturday, the House approved a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, H.R. 1319 or the American Rescue Plan.
Following the passage of this bill, which is now in the hands of the Senate, several Florida and Georgia lawmakers have released statements about it.
In a Saturday press release, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05), who voted in favor of the bill’s passage, wrote:
Americans need to know that more help is on the way. For over a year, the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis have destroyed the lives and livelihoods of so many Americans. This additional relief is necessary to speed up vaccine distribution, increase COVID-19 testing and tracing, help shuttered businesses, and help suffering families put food on their tables and keep a roof over their heads. North Florida families and businesses have waited far too long for additional relief and they cannot afford any more delays.
I am proud to have worked with my colleagues to pass this legislation and meet the needs of our communities.
U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn (Florida-02), who voted against the bill, stated the following in an early morning press release:
Americans throughout the nation have faced loss in many forms during this pandemic. Our kids are losing out on a proper education, families are losing loved ones, seniors are losing time with their families, and hometowns are losing their small businesses.
COVID-19 has disrupted and destroyed enough; we cannot let this pandemic destroy our future generations and the future of this nation. We owe it to our constituents to prioritize the things that matter most to them: their children, their families, and their communities. This package fails to adequately address the needs of my constituents in Florida’s Second Congressional District. Therefore, I cannot support this bill.
U.S. Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) published a press release saying that he voted in favor of the bill, writing:
The coronavirus pandemic has created two crises in our nation—both health and economic. In one year, this virus killed more than 500,000 Americans and infected tens of millions more; devastated our economy causing 18 million Americans to need unemployment benefits; caused nearly 24 million Americans to struggle with hunger, including 12 million children; left up to 40 million Americans unable to afford rent and fearing eviction; and threatened the education and socialization of our children due to school closures. The most vulnerable communities have borne the brunt of this pandemic. We have a duty to respond and help the American people recover. This bill is a major step towards fulfilling that duty.
In his press release, U.S. Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08) wrote:
Only 9% of spending in Speaker Pelosi’s so-called ‘COVID relief package’ is dedicated to health spending. More than 90% of the package is non-COVID spending and includes funding for things like an underground tunnel in Silicon Valley and a bridge connecting New York and Canada. The bill that passed the House is nothing more than a partisan wish list, and they should be ashamed for selling it to the American people as COVID relief,” said Rep. Scott. “House Democrats also conveniently seem to forget that there is still one trillion dollars unspent from previous COVID-19 relief bills. We should be focusing on responsibly spending the resources already allocated for COVID relief rather than passing a $1.9 trillion spending package full of progressive pet projects.
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