Nevada County reps vote ’no’ on COVID-19 relief checks
Nevada County’s two representatives to Congress, Republicans Doug LaMalfa and Tom McClintock, both voted Monday against a bill that would increase COVID-19 relief payments from $600 to $2,000 per person.
The bill was approved in the House, 275-134. Republican U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes was the only other California representative to vote against the bill.
Despite growing support from Republicans, on Tuesday the bill moved to the Senate where a vote was blocked by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who sought to add into the bill provisions President Donald Trump called for this week.
In a move likely to put its passage in jeopardy, McConnell added to the bill a bipartisan committee on election fraud and the repeal of Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, which provides online publishers protection from lawsuits stemming from speech they host.
Sen. Bernie Sanders said Monday he would hold up voting in the Senate until there is a vote on the $2,000 relief checks.
After initially supporting the bill with $600 relief checks and voting in March for the CARES Act, which included $1,200 in direct aid, LaMalfa said payments should now be targeted toward those most in need.
“There is a better way of providing help to struggling Americans than what Washington is offering,” LaMalfa said in a Facebook post following the vote.
“We need to do something different moving forward. This means being focused on helping the actual citizens who have lost income because of government lock downs.“
He also argued the new bill would lead to bureaucratic waste, and that because the government payments are ultimately funded by taxpayers, it would be more efficient to not pass the bill.
“Running it through Washington and back again only means bureaucrats will get a slice and people will end up with less,” LaMalfa said. “Every penny Congress spends first comes from the taxpayers, or tacks on more debt for future taxpayers. Letting people keep their own earnings to begin with cuts out the inefficient government middleman.”
The congressman could not be reached for comment.
LaMalfa said he favored an approach that targets aid to people who have become unemployed due to the pandemic, relaxes restrictions on businesses, and cuts taxes.
“That combination of immediate aid and long term tax cuts, combined with safely returning to work, will help everyone and put the country back on a path to prosperity,” he said.
McClintock, who opposed both versions of the bill, also wanted the aim to be more targeted, characterizing the package as “too good to be true.”
“The bill is inequitable and will have to be repaid from the future earnings of all Americans, making the post-lockdown recovery more difficult and prolonged,” McClintock said in a press release.
He also urged easing COVID-19 restrictions instead, and raised concerns about the national debt.
“Covid didn’t cause this damage. Government did,” he said. “The only genuine relief from the covid lockdowns is to end them.”
John Orona is a Staff Writer for The Union, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun. To contact him, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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Nevada County recorded 66 new COVID-19 cases on Friday making the new total 16,474. There were 140 active cases, 16,194 people released from isolation, one person hospitalized locally and 140 total deaths.