Last night, I voted against Nancy Pelosi’s Coronavirus bill.
I could not support the bill for several reasons.
First, the legislative process is corrupted. As of 9:51 pm, I was communicating with a group of U.S. Congressmen — none of whom knew which version of the legislation to review — while the Chamber of Commerce issued statements of support. As often happens, K Street had the draft before most members of Congress.
Second, we were given a take-it-or-leave it bill with zero chance to amend it or debate it. None.
Despite being well intentioned, it puts onerous burdens and mandates on main street employers, while picking winners and losers by carving out big business! These burdens will lead to job losses and undermine the very thing we need for growth right now – freeing up capital for small businesses so they can bridge the gap through coronavirus and support their employees and communities through these difficult times.
We all want to provide sick Americans quick access to the tests they need, and we hope that many are coming online thanks to the mix of national and state labs with private industry the administration has been working with recently. But the bill’s design risks unnecessarily overwhelming our healthcare system and infrastructure in a way that would block or limit access to care for our most vulnerable and those who need it, such as seniors and those with weaker immune systems.
Finally, Congressional leadership on both sides of the aisle admit they don’t know how much this bill will cost. Today, the President unleashed upwards of $50 billion in funds through a national emergency declaration. Furthermore, last week, Congress passed an $8.3 billion relief package, which I supported despite not having time to fully vet the bill (just like this measure). Now, this bill will cost perhaps tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars more. The truth is no one really knows.
Now that we’re racing down this road, we all know that today’s bill sets the stage for what’s coming next — more corporate bailouts.
In addition to the $8.3 billion Congress authorized last week focused on addressing the health emergency, we must take immediate action as Americans to care for one another at the community level. It is our civic duty to take steps not to overwhelm the healthcare system, to keep our economy humming, and to take personal responsibility to limit the spread of the virus. We should adopt these 5 S’s — Separate, Sanitize, Sleep, Seek medical advice on phone due to spare resources, and Serve seniors to protect them.
Our job in Congress when presented with legislation is to read, debate, amend, and vote – yet we were only provided the opportunity to vote. I voted no because this bill will cause more harm for more Americans than the good it purports to offer.