WASHINGTON – After weeks of feuding with one another, Republicans found something they agreed on: unanimous opposition to the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
The political value of this unity will be at the fore in the 2022 congressional elections.
President Joe Biden and the Democrats plan to make the COVID-19 relief bill – and the Republican opposition to it – the cornerstone of campaigns to expand their majorities in the House and Senate. Biden is expected to discuss the implications of the bill in a speech on Thursday evening, his first prime-time address as president.
Republicans, meanwhile, say the excessive spending and government bureaucracy authorized by the Records Act will ultimately help them regain control of Congress.
“This bill does far more harm than good, and the damage it does will only complicate our recovery efforts,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., A member of the House Republican leadership.
Kevin McCarthy, minority chairman of the House of Representatives, R-Calif., Called the bill “a pre-pandemic laundry list.”
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Democrats and Republicans vote directly with their parties
Every House Republican voted out Wednesday as the Democratically-run US House passed the $ 1.9 trillion bill. No Senate Republican voted for the bill when it came to this chamber on Saturday.
During weeks of debates, Republicans said the bulk of spending is being used on a range of non-COVID-related items, from Amtrak railroad service to arts and humanities programs.
Former President Donald Trump made a brief statement on Wednesday after the bill was passed, paying tribute to the development of COVID-19 vaccines for an insight into future Republican discussion points.
“If I weren’t the president, you wouldn’t get this beautiful shot for 5 years at best, and you probably wouldn’t get it at all. I hope everyone remembers! “Said Trump.
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But the bill also approves $ 1,400 in aid to Americans, expands unemployment benefits, addresses child poverty and health care programs, and accelerates programs to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations and school openings – all points Democrats frequently tout.
Chris Taylor, a spokesman for the Democratic Campaigns Committee, said “The American people will remember the Republicans in the House voting against halving child poverty,” including “getting stimulus checks into the hands of struggling Americans.”
“The Republicans of the house were drying American families,” he said. “People won’t forget that.”
Public opinion polls showed strong bipartisan support for the law, and there are signs that Republicans will focus on other issues as the pandemic recedes. While debating the bill, some Republicans also spent just as much time meeting the Biden government on other issues, including an increase in illegal border crossings, including children, and decisions by local governments to keep schools closed.
Republicans take inspiration from the 2009 Stimulus Response
In the coming weeks and months, Biden and other Democrats plan to push the legislation forward. They said it is supposed to end the pandemic and alleviate the economic hardship it caused, hence the $ 1,400 checks and other fund allocations.
“In order for our constituents to fully enjoy the glory of this legislation, it is important that we educate our communities on how exactly this legislation will benefit them,” House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Said in one Letter to constituents.
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Democratic political strategist Ben LaBolt said his party should make the bill an important part of next year’s elections, and that includes highlighting Republican opposition. The COVID aid will be “a key, if not the key, contrast” between the parties, he said.
But some Republicans said they were in the same position as they were in President Barack Obama’s early years. They said GOP candidates should follow the path of their predecessors in the 2010 congressional election, as many battled Obama’s economic stimulus and health plans.
“There’s a good chance there will be a wave election for the GOP in 2022,” said Texas-based Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak.
Republican strategist Doug Heye said the Democrats “declared the election verdict” to Republican opponents of Obama’s legislation in 2009 and 2010. Republicans took 63 seats in the House of Representatives in the 2010 election and took control of the House.
“All political predictions for what could happen in 20 months should be made with a pretty large grain of salt,” said Heye, who argued the GOP should fight the non-COVID-related items in the bill.
Infighting gives way to unity while Trump charges the money
Republican unity on spending accounting comes after months of fighting, most of it over Trump’s role. The fighting has made it difficult for the GOP to organize efforts to win back the House and Senate in 2020.
Trump and his supporters have vowed priority challenges to the ten House Republicans who voted to indict him over the January 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol. These Republicans, including Cheney, said the party had to get past Trump to be successful in the future.
More recently, Trump and the Republicans have been arguing over money.
Last week Trump attorneys sent the Republican National Committee and Party Campaigning Committees cease and desist letters demanding not to use the former president’s name and image in financial inquiries and merchandise. Trump also urged supporters to give money to his own political action committee rather than republican groups.
Republicans asserted freedom of speech and party members signed a truce. Trump updated his statement to say that he does not want money to go to “RINOs” (“Republican In Name Only”) because so much is “totally wasted by people who do not have the interests of the GOP in mind” .
The RNC, along with the House and Senate campaign committees, issued a joint statement saying, “We look forward to working with President Trump to regain our majorities in Congress.”