By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney has joined her Wyoming colleagues in criticizing the latest coronavirus relief bill.
The U.S. House of Representatives was set to vote on the bill Wednesday, and it was expected to narrowly pass due to a slight Democratic majority in the chamber. The U.S. Senate passed the bill over the weekend, but with amendments which must now be agreed to by the House.
“The partisan bill that Speaker Pelosi is ramming through is not a COVID relief bill,” Cheney said on social media late Tuesday about the bill. “But for Democrats, this was never really about COVID relief… This legislation is about implementing the ‘most progressive’ legislation that Congress has ever passed.”
As approved by the Senate, the $1.9 trillion bill includes stimulus payments of $1,400 for most taxpayers, along with extended unemployment benefits and funds for vaccine distribution, local governments, schools and small businesses.
It also includes language that would allow Planned Parenthood to obtain loans through the relief program, but does not contain language prohibiting the use of that federal money for abortions, often referred to “Hyde amendment” language.
“Preventing taxpayer funded abortions is something a majority of Americans agree with, yet Democrats are using ‘COVID relief’ to implement their anti-life agenda,” Cheney said Wednesday. “This is shameful behavior by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats.”
Among measures removed from the bill by the Senate was a provision that would have raised the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour.
Cheney’s criticisms are similar to those echoed by U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis over the weekend, following the Senate passing the bill.
“Even after the most egregious, progressive handouts were stripped from this behemoth bill, we were left with a spending bill full of programs that have nothing to do with the targeted, temporary relief the people of Wyoming need to weather the rest of this pandemic,” Lummis said on Saturday.
Lummis submitted seven amendments to the bill, including one to make the Shuttered Venue Grant program more accessible to Wyoming businesses such as concert venues and rodeo grounds, an amendment to redirect money from Amtrak to help the rural aviation industry and multiple amendments to ensure relief money is properly allocated to programs including veterans’ services and tribal health care.
Barrasso agreed with his colleague during an appearance on “Meet the Press.”
“When people find out what’s in this bill, they’re going to lose any enthusiasm they may have for it right now,” Barrasso said. “This was not really about the coronavirus in terms of the spending. This was a liberal wish list of liberal spending, just basically filled with pork. It didn’t need to be this way.”