Congressman Case On His Vote on Feb. 3, 2021 on House Concurrent Resolution 11
News Release from Office of Rep Ed Case, Honolulu, HI, February 10, 2021
He explains his vote in detail.
(Honolulu, HI) - First, I fully support further specific targeted additional COVID-19 emergency assistance up to the $1.9 trillion requested by President Biden, just as I voted for every COVID-19 assistance bill brought before and passed by the full U.S. House during the just-concluded 116th Congress, including the following:
· I voted for the first COVID-19 measure in early-March of 2020, which immediately provided $8.3 billion of supplemental funding to rapidly accelerate the development of a vaccine against COVID-19, get dramatically more test kits out into our communities and provide aid to state and local governments and providers, where most of our front-line efforts are occurring.
· In mid-March, I voted for the second measure, the roughly $200-300 billion Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which sought to address the severe impacts of COVID-19 on the personal health, safety and financial security of Americans. It supported paid sick leave in small businesses, ensured free coronavirus testing, support stronger unemployment benefits, expanded food assistance for vulnerable children and families, protected front-line health workers and delivered additional funding to states for the ongoing economic consequences of the pandemic.
· I voted for the $2.1 trillion CARES Act in late-March, which fully focused on meeting the health, economic social crisis head-on. This measure provided $1,200 direct payment to most Americans, created the Paycheck Protection Program, which helped more than 24,000 small businesses in Hawai‘i, provided state and local governments in Hawai‘i with $1.25 billion to address local needs and provided enhanced unemployment benefits for those who were out of work.
· In April, I voted for the $484 billion Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which provided an additional $320 billion to the Paycheck Protection program and provided more funding for hospitals and testing for COVID-19.
· I voted for the $3 trillion HEROES Act in May, which was not taken up by the Senate, but would have provided desperately needed assistance to help our nation and Hawai’i, from our state and local governments with crippling revenue shortfalls, our health and first responder front-liners, teachers and other essential workers, our small businesses and their employees, our social safety net and the community organizations that maintain it, and our seniors and unemployed, to so many other of our fellow citizens and ‘ohana in desperate need.
· I voted for the $2.2 trillion updated HEROES Act in September, which also died in the Senate, to respond to the changing economic, social and health needs of the COVID-19 pandemic since our passage of the original HEROES Act.
· I voted for the compromise $900 billion COVID-19 emergency relief package (H.R. 133) last December, which is currently helping address our nation’s COVID-19 public health, economic and social crisis. It provided most Americans with an additional $600 direct payment, revitalized small business assistance program and provide additional funding help with vaccine distribution, though as I said repeatedly then it was not enough.
Second, House Concurrent Resolution 11 was not a vote on the Biden plan or any other specific COVID-19 assistance, but on a rare procedural mechanism (budget reconciliation) that did not contain any funding or other assistance. The Biden plan has many parts to it, none of them fully developed yet and some of them unlikely to gain support of Congress. The most urgent core funding needs in the Biden plan are for additional vaccination distribution funds, opening schools and making further direct stimulus payments. That should and can pass Congress now, without any further delay, on a bipartisan basis. I voted against H.Con.Res. 11 because I didn’t believe the budget reconciliation process as set forth on H.Con.Res. 11 will get us there, as it abandons any pretense at bipartisanship, will delay even the most urgently-needed assistance, and may well end up failing since it requires virtually every Democrat in the Senate and House to vote for the final measure.
I also don’t support adding non-COVID emergency issues to COVID emergency assistance measures as some of my colleagues are seeking. That will further endlessly delay and ultimately risk getting critical assistance to the country, just as happened with our HEROES packages, which strung out further aid for seven long and tragic months. I further don't support giving a carte blanche on my vote for $1.9 trillion without knowing the details of what I'm being asked to vote for. My vote was against budget reconciliation at least as outlined in H.Con.Res. 11 as the wrong process to achieve the right goal of urgent, targeted COVID-specific assistance.
Third, subsequently, on February 5th, I voted for Senate Concurrent Resolution 5, the Senate’s budget reconciliation version. Partly it is an improvement on H.Con.Res. 11 which I didn’t believe would get the job done. But mostly I supported the Senate version because the background discussion since my earlier vote is now far more recognizing and inclusive of the concerns of many Democrats that an endless budget reconciliation process not slow approval of the urgent core ingredients of the Biden plan like vaccinations, nor be abused as an open invitation to include divisive issues that are not related to COViD-19 emergency assistance and are likely to risk final passage of any further assistance. S.Con.Res. 5 passed the House on a vote of 219-209 and with passage the budget reconciliation process will commence. I certainly hope it produces specific targeted additional COVID-19 emergency assistance in the very near future.
As we continue to work through this crisis together, please visit my COVID-19 website at https://case.house.gov/coronavirus for the latest updates of my efforts to help our state and to review an automatically updated fact sheet about COVID-19 prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This site includes a summary of resources available to assist with the impacts of COVID-19, which you can download directly at https://case.house.gov/uploadedfiles/coronavirus_handout.pdf.