Tuscaloosa County Congressional Reps Split Heroes Act Vote
True to her promise, West Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell joined fellow House Democrats in approving a $3 trillion coronavirus relief measure called the Heroes Act. She was the only member of the state’s seven member U.S. House delegation to vote ‘yea’.
The other Tuscaloosa County congressional representative Republican Robert Aderholt joined the all-GOP remainder of the state’s delegation in denouncing the massive legislation, as “Liberal La La Land.”
The 208-199 vote, over strong Republican opposition, advances what boils down to a campaign-season display of Democratic economic and health-care priorities. It has no chance of becoming law as written in the Republican dominated senate.
In a floor speech opposing the legislation Aderholt told members the bill was written without Republican input by Democrats intent on using it as fall campaign fodder, “These times call for cooperation, the Democrats, unfortunately, have chosen partisanship. America needs us to come together to address this pandemic, but the Democrats chose their own way, shutting out the Republicans in discussing this bill.”
The bill would aid state and local governments, include another $1,200 payment to individuals and extend an enhanced unemployment benefit, among other measures. Rep Sewell said the bill provides support for struggling families and essential workers.
This legislation also helps with funds for testing and tracing measures, key support for frontline workers, and strengthened assistance for the American people. Sewell released a detailed estimate of the direct benefits the Heroes Act would provide to West Alabama’s 7th Congressional District which includes half of Tuscaloosa County.
Sewell says the bill will provide families with a second round of payments up to $6,000 per household and extends weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January.
The veteran congress member also says, “the coronavirus is not waiting,” and adds that Congress needs to continue to show leadership and act now to provide relief to communities, workers, and families during the coronavirus crisis.
“Not only would this legislation provide Alabama counties and municipalities with necessary resources, but it would also honor the service of frontline workers by providing them with hazard pay, to give them the support they need and deserve to continue to keep our communities fed, safe and healthy during this pandemic,” said Sewell.
“These are critically important measures that will provide security and additional support for Alabamians impacted by this pandemic,” Sewell continues.
The Heroes Act provides Alabama and local communities on the frontlines of this crisis with funding to cover coronavirus-related outlay and revenue loss and pay health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers who are on the frontlines and at risk of losing their job, the release states.
A Congressional Research Service analysis estimates the Heroes Act will provide an estimated $1.6 billion in federal funding for the 7th Congressional District alone.
The Heroes Act also includes a $90 billion fund to support state and local public education, including a little over $1.4 million for Alabama communities. This funding will help maintain or restore state and local financial support for elementary, secondary, and public higher education. It can be used to meet a wide range of urgent needs, including summer learning, afterschool programs, distance learning, and emergency financial aid for college students as well as coordination with public health departments to mitigate the spread of disease.
Aderholt agrees there are some good points to the bill but adds they are outweighed by much more politics than policy, “Let me be clear – this bill is chocked full of proposals that have absolutely nothing to do with addressing the economic harms from the pandemic virus that we're experiencing in this nation.
A three trillion-dollar liberal wish list is not a serious proposal. The United States of America, this country, deserves better” Aderholt claimed.
Although a battle between senate Democrats and Republicans backed by the White House is expected to ensue; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) has declared the bill dead on arrival in the upper chamber.