Jacobs votes against $1.9 trillion stimulus bill even though he says he supports many of its provisions
The House of Representatives Friday passed a $1.9 triillion stimulus bill but NY-27's Rep. Chris Jacobs was not among those who voted in support of the package.
Jacobs called the bill a "partisan package" that did not meet the needs of all Americans. The Republican congressman accused Democrats of rejecting efforts to reach a bipartisan compromise.
Here's his statement:
“Today, we didn’t vote on a focused, fiscally responsible, or targeted COVID-19 relief bill. The bill before the House today was a partisan package designed to advance an agenda, not the needs of the American people. Sadly, Democrats have rejected over 200 attempts at bipartisan consensus to cut costs and improve this legislation.
“More support is needed to defeat COVID-19, and I would have supported a targeted measure that bolstered vaccine distribution, aided struggling local governments, and reopened schools. Yet only 9 percent of the total funding of this package goes to public health measures to defeat COVID-19, and only 5 percent of the $130 billion in school funding will be used this year. In fact, $670 billion of this total package will not even be spent in 2021.
“This bill should have focused on the immediate needs to protect Americans and reopen our country. However, with over $1 trillion still left unspent from previous aid packages and no bipartisan input to craft this legislation – the result can only be described as a disservice to the American people. While there are provisions in this bill I support, it contained numerous provisions that I could not in good faith support or justify.”
The bill passed without a single Republican House member supporting it and two Democrats joining in with the opposition.
If the bill passes the Senate -- which is by no means certain -- it would mean a third round of pandemic-related stimulus checks for Americans, this time for $1,400 per taxpayer.
The bill also includes $350 billion for state and local governments, a proposal generally opposed by Republicans in the Senate. The GOP opposition is based on a belief that Democratic-controlled states have bungled their own finances and shouldn't be bailed out by the Federal government. But even some Republican governors have said their states need the aid.
A spokesman for Jacobs noted that the congressman supported the CARES act, which allocated funding to local governments, with larger cities getting a direct distribution while it was up to the state to distribute the funds to smaller municipalities and counties. The spokesman said that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has dragged his feet in this regard.
"Furthermore, the CARES Act had a provision that required funding given to governments could only be used for COVID-19 related expenses, not to cover deficits or lost revenues," the spokesman said. "This was done to ensure mismanaged state governments, such as New York that had a $6 billion budget deficit prior to COVID, could not use the relief funding to cover their own prior expenses."
Jacobs is a cosponsor of the SMART Act, which would provide $500 billion to state and local governments, with one-third, or $161 billion, going directly to local governments. The aid would be distributed on proportional need, and county governments could use this funding to cover revenue losses, COVID-19 expenses, and other costs.
The bill has been stalled in a House committee since the fall.
But Jacobs continues to support the need to provide more relief to local governments, the spokesman said, even if he couldn't support the current stimulus package.
"The Congressman understands the impact that COVID-19 has had on budgets, especially at the local level," he said. "He recognizes these localities need this aid urgently, given they provide essential services ranging from EMS to public safety to education, and they also employ thousands of individuals across NY-27."