Mister Speaker, I rise today in opposition to this bill.
Unfortunately, by considering this bill today we are abandoning the spirit of bipartisanship that has allowed us to work across the aisle four times this year to pass critical coronavirus relief legislation.
This bill was crafted without input from Members on our side of the aisle, and it does not have the support needed to pass the Senate or be signed by the President.
There are some things included that I support, such as –
- Helping small businesses that are desperate for a lifeline,
- Enabling the airline industry to continue to pay its employees,
- Providing additional assistance to help schools continue reopening, and
- Increasing testing for the virus.
Yet, I cannot overlook – nor can I overstate – the significant problems I have with this bill.
First, it totals more than $2 trillion dollars – which is more than we appropriate for an entire year.
But what may be even more concerning is that buried in the more than 2,000 pages of text are partisan provisions that are unrelated to the pandemic.
These additions will not move us any closer to defeating this virus. In fact, they will only further divide us.
For example, there is language in the bill that –
- Encourages state and local governments to release violent criminals in order to get more funding,
- Prohibits immigration laws from being carried out and enforcement actions to be taken,
- Enables illegal immigrants to receive direct payments,
- Stalls the Census that is required by law to occur every ten years, and
- Imposes sweeping changes to elections and provide more than $3 billion in election assistance grants.
Including so many unnecessary items just to cater to the demands of a few could result in gridlock at a time when compromise and real results are still in reach.
After all of the good work we have done together to provide relief and hope to the American people, I am very disappointed that this is the bill that the Majority has chosen to bring to the floor.
I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will come back to the negotiating table and work with us to put the needs of the American people first, just as we have done four other times since the beginning of this devastating pandemic.
It is time for our leaders to come together rather than taking a vote on this damaging, partisan bill.
I reserve the balance of my time.
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