After laboring through a plethora of amendments, the Senate narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill on Saturday.
The vote finalized at 50-49 and not a single Republican backed the bill, according to a report from The Associated Press.
Among those who voted against the bill’s passage are two Texas senators — Republican Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.
Sen. Cruz issued a statement and labeled the relief bill as “wasteful” and “a liberal wish list.”
“This bill – nine percent of the bill is focused on health care needs and COVID. So, 91 percent of the bill is not about fighting the pandemic. The money for schools – a lot of the money for schools in that bill is four years in the future. It’s not even for right now. We have a crisis now. But what this bill is, is a liberal wish list. It’s every priority the Democrats have of paying off their political cronies. […] And I get that their priority is bring home the bacon and buy votes. But this is irresponsible and it’s wrong. And it’s important to note, in the last year we passed five bipartisan COVID relief bills. Republicans are eager to work together on getting vaccines out on fighting the virus, on getting people back to work, on helping small businesses. And we’ve demonstrated we’ll roll up our sleeves and work with Democrats. Joe Biden and the Democrats have said to Republicans, ‘Go jump in a lake.’ They don’t want to work with us. They don’t want to talk with us. They are going to try to ram through a partisan list completely unrelated to the pandemic because they got power and they don’t want to waste the power. And I think that’s really cynical and it’s unfortunate,” said Cruz in a release.
Sen. Cornyn was in agreement with Cruz and said he too believes the bill was “wasteful.”
“Republicans and Democrats worked together last year in a true show of unity to provide roughly $4 trillion in relief across five bipartisan bills. We could have built on that record this year, but instead Democrats put together a package of unrelated, wasteful, and downright partisan priorities: a blank check for mismanaged union pension funds; funding for climate justice; backdoor money for Planned Parenthood; an exclusive paid leave program for bureaucrats; and the list goes on. More than 90% of the bill’s total funding is not directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Democrat colleagues drafted this partisan bill by choice, not necessity. Their desire to turn a liberal wish list into law far outranked their interest in bipartisanship or unity. I hope Democrats will work with us on the next relief bill for Americans’ recovery from the economic and health impacts of the pandemic so it can be both bipartisan and targeted toward those who need the help, like I’ve advocated for all along,” Sen. Cornyn said in a release.
The relief bill, believed by many to be essential in providing short-term economic relief to millions of Americans, will head toward final congressional approval by the House next week.
According to the Associated Press, the bill provides direct payments of up to $1,400 for most Americans and extended emergency unemployment benefits and funding for both vaccines and increased testing.