According to a report from Fox News, House Democrats’ coronavirus package includes ‘amnesty’ for some illegal immigrants, critics say.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have successfully pushed her $3 trillion coronavirus-related stimulus bill through her chamber, but she did so by the slimmest of margins (a narrow vote of 208 to 199).
Any person who has seen the text of the bill can quickly recognize why she struggled to rally House members to back it. While most Democrats fell in line behind their leader, more than a dozen members did not back the measure and it only limped across the finish line in a chamber where Democrats hold a 35-member advantage.
Here's @playbookplus's assessment of Pelosi's bill.
This is what House Democrats are spending their time and energy on: pic.twitter.com/8suxZKpCm2
— Mark Bednar (@MarkBednar) May 15, 2020
The controversy probably came as the bill—the largest in congressional history—includes a number of provisions that have nothing to do with the coronavirus.
The Daily Wire reports Acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said Pelosi’s bill provided “amnesty” for illegal immigrants tucked into pages 1737 and 1738.
“Is it really a good idea to not only grant an amnesty to illegal aliens but to absolve employers who have been breaking the law in the last few months?” Cuccinelli said in a tweet. “I don’t think so!”
He added: “These pages of the proposed bill create a deferred action program for aliens based on the CISA essential workforce list. Granting both deferred action and employment authorization. The aliens wouldn’t even have to apply for an EAD or deferred action, they get it automatically.”
These pages of the proposed bill create a deferred action program for aliens based on the CISA essential workforce list. Granting both deferred action and employment authorization. The aliens wouldn’t even have to apply for an EAD or deferred action, they get it automatically.
— Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (@HomelandKen) May 13, 2020
CNBC similarly reports the bill included provisions specifically aimed at helping blue states and their State and Local Tax itemized deductions:
Tucked away in the bill is a measure that will reinstate the so-called SALT itemized deduction for 2020 and 2021.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which went into effect in 2018, limited the amount of state and local tax deductions filers could claim on their tax returns to $10,000.
This write-off includes income taxes paid at the state and local level, so it hit taxpayers in high-tax states the hardest.
Check it out:
The bill gives a tax cut to upper income blue state real estate owners for 2020 and 2021. pic.twitter.com/8dODlIRFZB
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) May 12, 2020
Democrats know they are playing games with a bill like this.
Their wish list is nothing more than political appeal to voters who are continuing to suffer under coronavirus-related lockdowns.
A Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair even went as far as to admit to using this suffering as “leverage.”
“For me, the leverage is that there is enormous suffering,” Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said during a conversation with The Ezra Klein Show, a quote McConnell shared on the Senate floor.
Ugh – good 'call out' here. We have to face the challenge together, not "leverage" the misery… https://t.co/q2lbmDrUPE
— Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (@HomelandKen) May 15, 2020
The record-breaking bill passed 208 to 199 votes, with 14 Democrats opposing it and only one Republican — moderate Congressman Peter King — voting in its favor.
“I’m thrilled,” Pelosi said shortly after the final vote passed, Fox News reports. “I’m so proud of my members. They just did something so monumental for the American people — for their health, for their lives, for their livelihood, and for our democracy. We couldn’t be more thrilled.”
The “we” Pelosi was referring to was obviously Democrats, but even she could not get all Democrats in the chamber to support the tremendously large legislation.
Democratic Congressman Joe Cunningham, who opposed the bill, said Pelosi should have not pushed the bill through without any consideration or input from Republicans.
“At a time when our country is in real trouble, we should not be spending precious time on one-sided solutions that aren’t going anywhere,” he said.
Fox News reports Cunningham was joined by 13 other Democrats against the bill: Cindy Axne of Iowa, Sharice Davids of Kansas, Abby Finkenauer of Iowa, Jared Golden of Maine, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Ben McAdams of Utah, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico, and Susan Wild of Pennsylvania.
The report adds:
Dubbed the HEROES Act, the legislation includes $915 billion in state and local aid that could prevent layoffs of public workers, like first responders and teachers; a new $200 billion “heroes” fund for hazard pay for essential workers; $100 billion for K-12 and higher education and $75 billion for coronavirus testing.
The legislation aims to get more money into the pockets of Americans hard-hit by widespread business closures. Eligible individuals would receive $1,200 checks for each person in their household, up to $6,000.
The bill extends add-on unemployment benefits of $600 in addition to state benefits through January 2021, creates a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act exchanges for the uninsured and provides $175 billion for families to pay their mortgages and rent. The legislation includes student loan forgiveness, an employee retention tax credit and increases maximum SNAP benefits by 15 percent.