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Stimulus package: Two Democrats cross party lines to vote against 'bloated' bill, Internet says 'shame on you'

The stimulus bill titled the 'American Rescue Plan' was rejected by Oregon's Kurt Schrader and Maine's Jared Golden, who crossed party lines to vote against it along with all the Republicans
Democratic Reps Kurt Schrader and Jared Golden voted against the stimulus bill passed by the House of Representatives (Getty Images)
Democratic Reps Kurt Schrader and Jared Golden voted against the stimulus bill passed by the House of Representatives (Getty Images)

Two Democratic reps voted against the Covid-19 stimulus package that was passed by the House of Representatives on Friday by a 219 to 212 vote with no Republican support. The stimulus bill titled the "American Rescue Plan" was rejected by Oregon's Kurt Schrader and Maine's Jared Golden, who crossed party lines to vote against it.

The bill accommodates $1,400 cheques for American citizens, but also contains a provision to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 — albeit this may be stripped out by the Senate after the chamber's parliamentarian ruled the measure could not be included, according to a Newsweek report.


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According to Golden, who represents Maine's 2nd congressional district, finalizing the stimulus package will take weeks, and the House must prioritize approving funding for vaccines and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) first.

Rep Don Bacon (R-NE) and Rep Jared Golden (D-ME) arrive for a classified House Armed Services Committee briefing at the Capitol on May 28, 2020, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

"We need to walk and chew gum. And when it comes to investments that can speed up vaccination programs and our capacity to test around the country, that should go first," Golden said, according to Bangor Daily News. "We should simultaneously be able to continue building a response plan to other needs out there like the looming deadline for unemployment. But these things shouldn't be mutually exclusive," he added.

Golden has reportedly been arguing for weeks that urgent action is needed to address the pandemic and the budget reconciliation process will take too long. He has also opposed passing a stimulus package that has considerable bipartisan support — which is clearly not the case in this instance. Golden, who has served in Congress since 2019, shared a statement on his vote against the bill on February 27.


Meanwhile, Schrader was one of just two Democrats who voted against increasing stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 in December. At the time, he told KATU News that the move "was very hasty, not as well-thought-out by a long shot, and doubled-down on the least-effective, most non-targeted program we considered."

"We're at a different point in the crisis," Schrader said in December. "When we were first dealing with Covid-19, we had no idea what it was. It was scary. Businesses were shut down. Folks were told to stay at home. We had no idea what we were facing. The goal with the checks and the rest of the program was to just to show America that congress had their back."

Representative Kurt Schrader, a Democrat from Oregon, questions witnesses during a hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Capitol Hill on June 23, 2020, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

Schrader, who has represented Oregon's 5th congressional district since 2009, had not issued a statement addressing his February 26 vote at the time of writing. That said, both Golden and Schrader are members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, according to Newsweek.

House Republicans unanimously opposed the $15 minimum wage target included as an expense in the bill, saying it would hurt small businesses in rural areas and cost tens of thousands of jobs as a result. “To my colleagues who say this bill is bold, I say it’s bloated,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “To those who say it’s urgent, I say it’s unfocused. To those who say it’s popular, I say it is entirely partisan.”

Some Internet users, however, lashed out against the "two Democrats" and the House GOP for voting against the bill. "A third-grader on zoom with her class broke down crying because she said she was starving since her Mother lost her job. Shame on you 2 Democrats and @HouseGOP for voting against the Covid19 relief bill. Have you no mercy for suffering, hungry families?" one tweeted.

"I'm sorry but the fact that every republican and 2 democrats in the house voted against the $1400 stimulus bill for people making under 75k is absolutely ridiculous. $1400 doesn't even really help most of us that much we should be asking for a lot more..." another added.