Pa. Dems join majority to approve $1.9T COVID-19 relief bill on a near party-line vote

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: The U.S. Capitol is shown at dusk.(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Pennsylvania’s 18-member delegation split right down the middle, with all nine of the Keystone State’s Democratic lawmakers voting for the bill, while all nine voted against it, according to an official House roll call.

“No amount of deficit spending will heal an economy that remains locked down,” U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th District, said in a statement released by his office. “This so-called American Rescue Plan focuses more on progressive pet projects than opening America while only 9 percent of this bill focuses on COVID testing and vaccine distribution.”

U.S. Rep. John Joyce, D-13th District, offered a similar complaint, arguing the bill should have been targeted to “workers, students, and vaccines.”

“Rather than prioritize workers and our small business community, this legislation would destroy jobs, incentivize endless lockdowns, and keep our small businesses closed. With a nearly $2 trillion price tag for American taxpayers, only 9 percent of this funding would be used to combat the pandemic and only 5 percent would support the full reopening of K-12 schools,” Joyce said. ” … I’m voting no on this radical wish list – but you can be certain that I will keep working to fully reopen our economy, to get our kids back into the classroom, and to accelerate vaccine distribution in Pennsylvania and around the country.”

Taking to Twitter before the vote, U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District, outlined the benefits the bill would bring to Pennsylvania and the rest of the country.

Stressing the relief package’s “comprehensive” nature, U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th District, said on Twitter that she was a “yes” vote because “we need to get this virus under control once and for all.

Ariana Figueroa covers Washington D.C. for States Newsroom, which supports the Capital-Star.
John L. Micek
A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press