Graves explains “NO” vote on Pelosi-backed, unilateral stimulus bill

U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6800 – the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. Graves voted no on the bill.

“This is legislation that Speaker Pelosi unilaterally put together without involvement from the Senate, without involvement from Republicans, and in fact many Democrats have actually even come out and said this is the wrong approach and that they would even oppose this legislation.

Now think for just a minute by some calculations unemployment levels are 15 percent or maybe even over 20 percent, yet the bill would prevent the deportation of illegal immigrants that are here taking American jobs. Not only that, but it actually opens up the stimulus checks to illegal immigrants to where those people not only don’t get deported but actually get paid to stay here. You can’t make this stuff up. Taking American jobs, getting paid to do it, by our own government, when we have unemployment levels perhaps exceeding 20 percent. It doesn’t make sense.

Look, we need another relief package. I couldn’t be more supportive of the concept, but coronavirus is not partisan and the solution shouldn’t be partisan either.

What this bill does is it effectively incentivizes people to not work because it extends this excessive unemployment that in many cases people are getting paid more to not work than they are getting paid to work. By changing the type of investments that we are making, making more investments in things like roads, bridges, flood protection, and restoring the coast – those are actually investments that incentivize people to work, not incentivizing them to stay home. So we need to be making investments in recovery just not in a way that prolongs the recession and prolongs unemployment.

This bill also has crazy provisions that effectively requires the release of prisoners. It provides a massive tax break for millionaires and billionaires in California, New York and other states.

The bill provides additional funds for the National Endowment for Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts. The bill provides funds that effectively federalize local elections. The bill even has provisions in it that opens up loan programs to marijuana dispensaries. You’d have to be stoned to understand what that has to do with the coronavirus.

I heard from a number of people weeks ago when Speaker Pelosi stood in front of her $24,000 refrigerator/freezer holding up her $13-a-pint ice cream, I actually like Blue Bell, and just said that she was tone deaf and said it wasn’t coming from a position of empathy or understanding of what people are going through. And I think we are seeing that disconnect again.

I can’t say this enough. We need another recovery package but there are actually Republicans and Democrats that have come out in opposition to this strategy that prolongs unemployment, it delays economic recovery, it delays us getting back in to the workforce and revving up that economy again.

The bottom line is this bill is like giving pain relievers or morphine to a heart attack victim. Is it going to make that person feel better? Yes, temporarily. But it’s not doing anything to save their life. We’ve got to focus on the life-saving right now. We’ve got to focus on saving our economy, saving the jobs, saving American families – and that’s not what this bill does. I think it’s the wrong direction and we’ve got to work in a bipartisan manner to get a real solution to give people the hand-up that they deserve. Stay safe, stay well, and God bless.”

A full video of Graves’ remarks can be also be found on Facebook.

Below is more information on the previous four COVID-19 bills:

  • On April 23, Graves voted ‘Yes’ on the Senate Amendment to H.R. 266 – Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.
  • On March 27, the U.S. House passed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
  • On March 13, Graves voted ‘Yes’ on H.R. 6201 the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • On March 6, Graves voted ‘Yes’ on H.R. 6074 – Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020