‘How dare you!’ House debate on COVID relief bill descends into spat over Black Lives Matter

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The House debate on Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package descended into a fiery showdown over Black Lives Matter on Wednesday. 

It came after one Democratic congresswoman hit back at a Republican colleague’s claim that the group ‘doesn’t like the old-fashioned family’.

‘How dare you!’ Virgin Islands Rep. Stacy Plaskett fired back at Wisconsin Republican Glenn Grothman after he made the comments.

‘How dare you say that we are not interested in families in the black communities,’ she continued.

Rep. Grothman had made the statement during his own two-minute pushback on the relief bill, in which he also accused Democrats and Black Lives Matter of introducing a ‘marriage penalty’ by increasing the earned income tax credit for single people.

Grothman and other Republicans voted against the bill, which passed shortly afterward by 220-211, with just one Democrat voting against. 

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Rep. Stacey Plaskett

‘How dare you!’ Virgin Islands Rep. Stacy Plaskett (right) fired back at Wisconsin Republican Glenn Grothman (left) after he said BLM ‘doesn’t like the old-fashioned family’ on Wednesday

Plaskett also voiced her anger on Twitter where she shared the video of the exchange

Plaskett also voiced her anger on Twitter where she shared the video of the exchange

In his argument against the bill, Grothman blamed the influence of Black Lives Matter for the increased ‘marriage penalty’ as he slammed President Biden’s inaugural speech as ‘divisive’.

‘First, one of the things that hasn’t been mentioned here, the increase in the earned income tax credit for single people has a marriage penalty in it,’ Grothman began.

‘I bring this up because I know the strength that Black Lives Matter had in this last election. I know it’s a group that it does not like the old-fashioned family.

‘I’m disturbed that we have another program here in which we’re increasing the marriage penalty,’ he continued.

After he had yielded to Rep. Plaskett, she appeared immediately angered by his comments and used her chance to debate the bill to instead answer to his claims.

‘I hope my colleague from Wisconsin will not leave at this time as he’s talked about Black Lives Matter,’ she began.

‘How dare you! How dare you say Black Lives Matter, black people do not understand old-fashioned family.

‘Despite some of the issues, some of the things that you’ve put forward, that I’ve heard out of your mouth in the oversight committee, in your own district, we have been able to keep our families alive for over 400 years,’ she continued, ‘and the assault on our families to not have black lives, or even have black families.’

‘How dare you say that we are not interested in families in the black communities. That is outrageous and that should be stricken down,’ she continued. 

‘I was going to talk about the American rescue plan – we know that this is going to provide relief to not only black lives, black Americans, but all Americans, that we are interested in children and in their welfare,’ Rep. Plaskett concluded.

She later tweeted her anger at Grothman again as she shared a video of the exchange.

‘#BlackLivesMatter and I had to let my Colleague from Wisconsin know that in so many words today,’ she wrote.

Plaskett was supported by other Democrats, including Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin who sided with her over her state's congressman (as pictured above)

Plaskett was supported by other Democrats, including Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin who sided with her over her state’s congressman (as pictured above)

Grothman's fellow Wisconsin congressman Rep David Bowen also sided with Plaskett

Grothman’s fellow Wisconsin congressman Rep David Bowen also sided with Plaskett

DNC Chair Jamie Harrison told Grothman 'stop trying to divide us'

DNC Chair Jamie Harrison told Grothman ‘stop trying to divide us’

'Thank you to Stacey Plaskett for reminding all Americans of history on the House floor,' added presidential historian Michael Beschloss in a tweet (pictured above)

‘Thank you to Stacey Plaskett for reminding all Americans of history on the House floor,’ added presidential historian Michael Beschloss in a tweet (pictured above)

Rep. Grothman has not yet commented again on his statements or Plaskett’s response.

She was supported by other Democrats, including Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin who sided with her over her state’s congressman.

‘Systemic racism is real. Even on the floor of Congress. I stand with @StaceyPlaskett and thank her for speaking truth to power,’ the Democrat wrote on Twitter.

Grothman’s fellow Wisconsin congressman also sided with Plaskett.

‘Thank you, Rep., @StaceyPlaskett for speaking truth to power for Black Families everywhere that deserve to be invested in & not erased due to the disparaging mindset of Rep. Grothman & others!’ wrote Rep David F Bowen, a Democrat representing Milwaukee.

‘YES, WE MATTER, and for over 400 years we have endured proving that time & time again!’ he added. 

‘The contrasts couldn’t be any clearer. The racial derogation is disgusting,’ DNC Chair Jamie Harrison stated. 

‘This week GOPers have gone after black voters, black Farmers, & now black families. They are desperate but they should know this- we aren’t going back! Stop trying to divide us!’

‘Thank you to Stacey Plaskett for reminding all Americans of history on the House floor,’ added presidential historian Michael Beschloss.

In a 220-211 vote on Wednesday, the House voted to pass the latest $1.9 trillion COVID relief package with not a single Republican voting in favor of the legislation

In a 220-211 vote on Wednesday, the House voted to pass the latest $1.9 trillion COVID relief package with not a single Republican voting in favor of the legislation

Pelosi gave a thumbs up to the chamber after the package passed as she received applause from its supporters when announcing the vote to send the legislation to the president

Pelosi gave a thumbs up to the chamber after the package passed as she received applause from its supporters when announcing the vote to send the legislation to the president

The spat between Plaskett and Grothman came in the lead up to the House passing the COVID relief bill which Biden is expected to sign on Friday.

It marked a major legislative and policy win for Biden on the 50th day of his presidency.

Not one Republican crossed the aisle to vote on passing the final version of the legislation, as several of them lamented they were not welcomed to the negotiating table and had no say in the massive package.

‘Heaven forbid that they vote for something a Democratic president wanted,’ House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer grumbled about his GOP colleagues.

Several Republicans denounced the legislation as a ‘ram job’ being forced through Congress by Democrats without any attempt at bipartisanship. Democrats passed it under special budget ‘reconciliation’ rules that allowed it to get through the Senate without being subject to a Republican filibuster.

By doing so, they avoided protracted negotiations over a stimulus package that former President Barack Obama and Biden experienced at the start of Obama’s term.

What’s in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill heading to Joe Biden’s desk? 

Relief checks

President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats tightened eligibility for the $1,400 payments to secure support from wavering Democratic senators.

But under the Senate bill being voted on in the House Wednesday, the phaseout stops at $80,000. 

Under the earlier House-passed version, the cash payment would have phased out for singles with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000. Under the original House bill, the cash payment for married couples phased out between $150,000 and $200,000. But under the Senate bill heading to Joe Biden’s desk, the phaseout stops at $160,000.

Most Americans will still be getting the full amount. The median household income was $68,703 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Roughly 8 million fewer households will get a check under the Senate bill compared with what the House passed, according to an analysis from the Tax Policy Center.

 

Money for state and local governments  

The Senate-passed bill provides $350 billion for state and local governments but adds the stipulation that the money can only cover costs incurred by the end of 2024. The Senate bill also prohibits states from using the money to offset tax cuts, nor can it be used to shore up a pension fund. The bill also requires that small states get at least the amount they received under virus legislation that Congress passed last March. Lawmakers are looking to focus the money on covering costs and revenue shortfalls arising from the pandemic.

 

Aid for the jobless  

The Senate-passed bill extends enhanced unemployment benefits through Sept. 6 at $300 a week. Also, the first $10,200 of benefits would non-taxable. The provision applies to households with incomes under $150,000.

Passage came after a compromise that knocked down the House-passed higher payment of $400 per week, with the extension running until Aug. 29. That´s on top of what beneficiaries are getting through their state unemployment insurance program.

 

More money for hospitals 

Hospital trade groups lobbied senators to tack on more money for hospitals to help maintain sufficient staffing and purchase personal protective equipment while caring for large numbers of critically ill patients.

The Senate bill being taken up by the House adds $8.5 billion for rural providers for COVID-19 relief.

   

Health insurance help  

Workers who lose their job can remain on their company´s health plan for up to 18 months under a law known as COBRA, but they typically must pay the full monthly premium.

The House bill temporarily subsidized 85% of the insurance premiums, which can be expensive. The bill that passed the Senate include a 100% subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums to ensure that the laid-off workers can remain on their employer health plans at no cost through the end of September.

  

Provisions for children and students

The bill provides $7.5 billion for vaccine distribution, along with $48 billion for testing and contract tracing.

It provides $39 billion for child care, amid studies showing women have been disproportionately kept out of the workforce due to schools closing in-person learning.

Schools and universities also get $160 billion in direct aide, but there are provisions meant to ensure it gets spent in the next few years.

It also expands the child tax credit to $3,000 per child – in a provision projected to cause a steep drop in child poverty. It is an increase of $1,000 from the current credit, which is fully refundable on tax returns. There is an additional $600 for children under six.

 

Amtrak and other winners  

Amtrak would get an additional $200 million on top of the $1.5 billion in the House bill, for a total of $1.7 billion. There´s also an additional $510 million for homeless services under the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $175 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. All COVID-19 student loan relief would be tax-free.

 

No $15 minimum wage hike  

The Senate-passed bill being voted on in the House does not include an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. It got stripped out after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the minimum wage increase violated strict budget rules limiting what can be included in a package that can be passed with 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

– AP 

 

 



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