Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne on Friday said she will vote against House Democrats’ latest $3 trillion coronavirus relief package due to “politically charged” language in the bill and legislative provisions “that could see large amounts of taxpayer dollars allocated to helping those who are not hurting at all.”
Axne’s statement about the Heroes Act came early this afternoon as members debated the legislation — and a rule change to allow proxy voting — on the House floor.
“I could not in good conscience vote to accept this Washington gamesmanship, or vote to approve unrelated wastes of taxpayer dollars, while Iowa see it’s COVID-19 case rates climbing and parts of my district become a national hotspot,” Axne said in a statement. “I will always stand up to anyone — even my own party — when it comes to doing what’s right for Iowa.”
I cannot support adding to our federal debt just to line the pockets of special interests and those who have the means to keep themselves healthy and financially stable.
I will always stand up to anyone – even my own party – when it comes to doing what’s right for Iowa. #IA03
— Rep. Cindy Axne (@RepCindyAxne) May 15, 2020
Though the 3rd District congresswoman acknowledged the “critical assistance” provided in the bill for individual Iowans, hospitals, schools, homeowners and renters, and state and local governments, Axne pointed to an eligibility provision that could allow lobbying groups to access financial aid as one of the reasons she did not support the legislation.
“Special interest groups and Americans already supported by massive incomes cannot be the priority in our continuing efforts to keep our country afloat,” Axne said. “I cannot support adding to our federal debt just to line the pockets of special interests and those who have the means to keep themselves healthy and financially stable.”
Though the Paycheck Protection Program implemented early in April was meant to provide financial relief for small- and mid-sized businesses so they could keep employees on their payrolls, USA Today recently reported on nearly 400 publicly traded companies that received about $1.3 billion in forgivable loans from the federal government.
Democrats’ insistence for congressional oversight on how the Trump Administration doles out more than $2 trillion for federal agencies to help keep the country afloat has been met with resistance from the president and his allies.
Even though the Heroes Act was put forward by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, members of her own party — particularly the Progressive Caucus and swing-state moderates — have expressed doubts about the bill since it was unveiled early this week.
“While this legislation has some good elements, it ultimately fails to match the scale of this crisis,” said Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, noting the bill “does not guarantee the certainty of paychecks” or provide enough financial relief to small, medium and minority-owned businesses.
Fellow Iowa freshman Rep. Abby Finkenauer has not publicly said how she will vote on the bill, though she was one of 14 Democrats, including Axne, to vote Friday morning against a motion to allow a vote on the legislation.
14 Dem "no" votes against rule to vote on the HEROES Act include five moderates (I've starred them):
— Daniel Marans (@danielmarans) May 15, 2020
The Heroes Act includes provisions introduced by Axne to ease financial burdens on renters and home owners, but downsides of the bill proved too much to earn her support.
“I do not vote against these provisions and the others that I have fought for lightly,” Axne said. “As Iowa continues to endure outbreaks of COVID-19, we need to see these provisions maintained as negotiations move forward with our Senate colleagues.”
By Elizabeth Meyer
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