BREAKING: GOP Rep. Peter King to buck party, vote for Dems $3T relief bill

NY lawmaker Rep. Pete King (R-NY) has said he will vote with Democrats for their $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that is expected to come to the floor Friday.

Late April, Pete King tweeted:

Proud to go on national television to condemn @senatemajldr McConnell’s disgraceful remark that states like NY & NJ should go bankrupt rather than receive federal funds to pay cops, firefighters & healthcare workers risking their lives to fight Coronavirus! Morally Indefensible!!

Per Breitbart, the “Heroes Act” reportedly contains many leftist provisions in the bill, including:

  • $755 million for the government for Washington, DC. The bill would also allow the D.C. government to participate in the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity (MLF) to support additional lending to the city.
  • $1 million for the National Science Foundation to study the spread of coronavirus-related “disinformation.”
  • $10 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as well as $10 million fo the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • Eliminates limitations on the federal deduction for the state and local taxes (SALT). Republicans limited this deduction through the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The SALT deduction primarily benefits wealthy, largely Democrat states.
  • Grants additional aid for State and local government bailouts. The bill contains $500 billion in funding for state government relief and $375 billion in aid to local governments. Senate Republicans such as Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have contended this will particularly aid fiscally irresponsible blue states such as California, New York, and Illinois to the detriment of more fiscally responsible states such as Texas and Florida.
  • $25 million for migrant and seasonal farmworkers, including emergency support services through the Department of Labor.
  • $1.7 billion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions, $20 million for Howard University, $11 million for Gallaudet University, $11 million for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
  • $15 million to maintain operations, rental assistance supportive services, and other actions to mitigate the impact on low-income people with HIV/AIDS through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • Create a two month special enrollment period for Obamacare. The bill also extends full premium subsidies to allow workers to maintain their health insurance coverage through COBRA.
  • Allows Attorney General William Barr to make grants to states to create state-run hate crime reporting hotlines.
  • Relief for up to $10,000 of up-front debt relief for all Department of Education loan borrowers.
  • Authorizes up to $50 million in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “environmental justice” grants to investigate or address the disproportionate impact of coronavirus in environmental communities.
  • $75 billion for housing assistance.
  • Mandatory early voting for every state and mandatory mail-in ballots for every state. Nate Madden, a press secretary for the House Oversight Committee Republicans, said it would be a “nightmare scenario for voter fraud.”
  • Allows wealthy people who make money from dividends and royalties to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is designed for lower-income Americans.
  • Extends assistance designed for nonprofits to political action groups and chamber of commerce-style associations. Open Markets Institute fellow Matt Stoller called it a “corporate lobbyist bailout.”Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) noted that the bill has “70 appropriations in excess of a billion dollars each.”

The Hill reports King, who is set to retire at the end of this term, said while there are provisions that give him pause, he feels it’s critical that Congress provide funding for state and local governments that have been disproportionately hit by the deadly virus.

“In some ways it’s a tough decision and in some ways it’s an easy decision,” King told The Hill.

“Look, I disagree with a lot of things that are in that bill some of the provisions involving illegal immigrants, some of the absentee ballots, the mail, all that stuff. But the fact is, to me McConnell sort of laid it down, he’s talking about no federal aid to state and local governments. New York is going to die, my county, Nassau county Suffolk County is also in my district, not only are they running up tremendous cost, their revenue losses are unbelievable.”

New York is the state hardest hit by coronavirus, with around 340,000 confirmed cases and more than 20,000 deaths.

Funding for state and local governments has emerged as a key issue for the next round of coronavirus legislation, with governors arguing they need federal help as the pandemic forces them to increase spending on services while taking a heavy hit to revenue. Some Republicans have countered that such funding would amount to “blue state bailouts.”

House Democrats unveiled the 1,815-page bill on Tuesday, arguing its a necessary step in helping the country stay afloat amid the pandemic.

GOP leadership has come out heavily against the legislation, calling it a “grab bag of far left” ideas,” and blasting Democratic leadership for opting not to include Republicans in the negotiation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has called for a “pause” on coronavirus legislation altogether while lawmakers examine the effects of the previous coronavirus bills.