DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, announced that she opposes H.R. 6800, The Heroes Act, scheduled for a vote on Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The $3 trillion, 1800-page bill is the House’s latest COVID-19 response. It includes:
- A second round of direct stimulus payments to individuals, at $1,200 per family member (up to $6,000 per household)
- An extension of the additional $600-per-week unemployment benefits through January 2021.
- $200 billion in hazard pay for first responders and frontline workers
- $75 billion for increased coronavirus testing
- $175 billion in rent and mortgage assistance
- $10,000 in student loan forgiveness for borrowers.
- It also includes funds not directly tied to COVID-19 relief like funding for Planned Parenthood and the U.S. Postal Service.
Axne said that despite her support for relief packages that will help Iowans, House Democrats had made the relief in its current form politically charged, and she said it does not have a path forward to become law.
“While this legislation includes critical assistance for Iowa’s hospitals, schools, homeowners and renters, state and local governments, and families who are still feeling the burdens of this public health crisis – I am deeply troubled by numerous provisions in this bill that could see large amounts of taxpayer dollars allocated to helping those who are not hurting at all,” Axne said.
“I could not in good conscience vote to accept this Washington gamesmanship, or vote to approve unrelated wastes of taxpayer dollars, while Iowa sees its COVID-19 case rates climbing and parts of my district become a national hotspot. I will always stand up to anyone – even my own party – when it comes to doing what’s right for Iowa,” she added.
Axne noted that The Heroes Act includes changes to eligibility for COVID-19 aid that could allow lobbying groups to claim taxpayer dollars. She also said that it also offers changes to the tax code that would largely provide benefits to high-income earners, a provision that Axne rejected last year.
“Special interest groups and Americans already supported by massive incomes cannot be the priority in our continuing efforts to keep our country afloat,” she 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.”
There are several provisions within the bill that Axne supports.
The relief package also includes two bills that she introduced Protect Rural Renters Act and the Coronavirus Housing Counseling Support Act.
The Heroes Act also includes $375 billion for local governments and $500 billion for states to help prevent cuts to public safety, education, and other essential services supported at the municipal level. Axne introduced legislation last week that provided aid to states and municipalities to help offset budget shortfalls.
The bill also provides support for the biofuels industry, something she also supports.
“I do not vote against these provisions and the others that I have fought for lightly. As Iowa continues to endure outbreaks of COVID-19, we need to see these provisions maintained as negotiations move forward with our Senate colleagues,” Anxe said.