CBS News reports the House is expected to vote on a massive coronavirus relief bill on Friday, although the $3 trillion legislation is unlikely to gain any traction in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“We are presenting a plan to do what is necessary to address the corona crisis,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at the Capitol when she announced the legislation on Wednesday. She said the bill’s priorities were “opening our economy safely and soon, honoring our heroes, and then putting much needed money in the pockets of Americans.”
The House vote comes as the unemployment rate is rising to levels unseen since the Great Depression, with millions of Americansout of work or furloughed.
The text of the bill, which spans more than 1,800 pages, includes assistance to state and local governments, hazard pay for frontline health care workers, forgiveness of student debt and bolstering Medicaid and Medicare. The bill is known as the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act.
The bill includes provisions to assist farmers, protect renters and homeowners from evictions and foreclosures, and extend family and medical leave provisions previously approved by Congress. The legislation would also provide relief for essential workers, such as aviation, rail and Amtrak workers, as well as extend work visas for immigrants.
The bill has faced opposition from Republicans and more moderate Democrats in the House because of its size, while progressives argue the legislation doesn’t go far enough. Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who is known for her progressive politics, told reporters Friday that she would not be voting for the bill.
“I think it’s an incredibly important vote. I, unfortunately, will be voting no on the bill. And really this was a difficult decision for me,” Jayapal said, explaining that the bill did not do enough to ensure paycheck guarantees for struggling workers.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent progressive freshman in the House, told reporters that it was a “tough bill.”
“I think we can go further, especially when it comes to healthcare,” Ocasio-Cortez said, saying the bill was a “mixed bag.”