KEY POINTS

  • House Democrats pass a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill
  • It is called the moste expensive legislation in history
  • However, this bill is reportedly "dead on arrival" at the Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill Friday (May 15), dubbed as most expensive in history, which would provide another round of $1,200 stimulus checks and other benefits to Americans.

But the bill was drafted by House Democrats, without consultations with the Republicans, and will likely get caught up in the partisan politics of the Capitol and end up dead in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Called the HEROES Act, this coronavirus relief bill, passed by a narrow 208-199 vote — 14 Democrats voted against it; one Republican voted for it. The politics around the bill was starkly different from the bipartisan support for the CARES Act passed in late March.

"At a time when our country is in real trouble, we should not be spending precious time on one-sided solutions that aren’t going anywhere," Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., said. Cunningham is one of fourteen Democrats who voted against the bill.

Capitol House Democrats at the Capitol Hill have passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill that will likely be rejected at the Senate. Photo: Creative Commons

Senate Republicans hinted that tackling this bill is not going to be a priority, with many saying that it will not get support, it won't be passed and it will likely be "dead on arrival."

President Donald Trump said the same thing.

"DOA. Dead on arrival. Of course, Nancy Pelosi knows that," President Donald Trump told White House reporters Wednesday.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., however, said the Democrats are open to negotiations.

"It is important to note that more than 80% of the priorities in the Heroes Act have been supported by the Republicans in the four previous COVID-19 acts of Congress." Pelosi wrote in her letter to the House on Thursday. "We are proud of how we built on that bipartisanship and look forward to negotiations for the people."

Under the HEROES Act, eligible taxpayers will once again receive $1,200 checks and $600 in unemployment benefits. The legislation also provides a special period for enrolling in the Affordable Care Act, student loan forgiveness, and a maximum 15% increase in SNAP benefits.

Fox News reported that the bill includes $915 billion in state and local aid that could prevent layoffs of public workers, like first responders and teachers; a new $200 billion "heroes" fund for hazard pay for essential workers; $100 billion for K-12 and higher education and $75 billion for coronavirus testing.

But Republicans are reportedly displeased by some provisions in the bill that do not have anything to do with the coronavirus pandemic. Some of these include vote-by-mail and early voting options, tax deductions that favor blue states, and allowing legal cannabis enterprises to receive bank services.

"It's more like a liberal Christmas wish list," Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said. "It would make more sense to just send it straight to Santa Claus than to send it to the United States Senate. It would have a better chance of becoming law that way."