A new stimulus package is scheduled to have a vote in Congress Monday morning even as almost no legislators have read it.
The House of Representatives is scheduled to meet after 9 a.m., with the first vote no earlier than 10 a.m. on a bill that critics say is filled with presents for lobbyists, pork-barrel spending and hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with Covid relief.
The package includes funding for state and local governments in Democrat strongholds across the nation, which Republicans did not want to grant. Democrats said the aid isn’t enough; Republicans ditched liability shields from COVID-19-related lawsuits. Polls show that while the public supports a new package, they are against granting the wish lists of big cities that have been accused of misspending previous funding on progressive pet projects.
Representatives were only told the bill contains both funding for government operations for the next year and the fresh COVID-19 relief package.
Speaking on Fox and Friends Monday morning, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said it would take days, if not a week, for Congressional staff to read the bill and that hasn’t happened.
“Members of Congress have no idea what they’re voting on,” stated Gingrich.
The package also comes after Nancy Pelosi alluded last week that she held the bill up purposely until there was a “new administration.”
Once the House passes the bills, which may be combined, the Senate is expected to vote on them.
Along with reaching a compromise on a stimulus, the parties passed a one-day stopgap funding bill that prevented portions of the government from shutting down.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a key player in the months of negotiations on a fresh stimulus, announced late Sunday that a deal had been reached.
“There will be another major rescue package for the American people. As our citizens continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be fighting alone,” he said.
The package “is packed with targeted policies that help struggling Americans who have already waited entirely too long,” such as an infusion of money into the Paycheck Protection Program, a small business loan program; money for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines; and the renewal of federal unemployment aid.
Legislators said the deal includes another round of checks; Democrats said they’ll be $600 for most Americans. Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had pushed leaders in recent days to include direct payments in the package.
Both Republicans and Democrats jammed previous iterations of a stimulus in the months leading up to the agreement.
–Metro Voice and wire services