Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has called on Senate Republicans to stop playing political games with the $3 trillion CCP Virus (coronavirus) relief bill, The Hill reported.
In a call with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) on Friday, June 12, Biden slammed the GOP senators for not passing the HEROES Act, which would provide additional funds to states and cities facing huge deficits, and guarantee hazard pay for essential workers, among other provisions.
“The Republican Senate need to do its job and pass the HEROES Act,” the former vice president said. “It passed through the House. Get state and local governments the funding they need to keep millions of people on the job.”
“Here’s the—they’re so damn stupid, darn stupid,” he said. “If you don’t have people on the job dealing with controlling the virus, then it’s just going to get worse,” he said.
“We gotta stop playing the political game with the HEROES Act,” Biden continued.
The Democrat-led House passed the bill on a vote of 208 to 199 in mid-May, in which one Republican crossed party lines to support the measure and 14 Democrats opposed it.
The HEROES Act pledges $1 trillion to state and local governments facing revenue shortfalls, and would also establish a $200 billion fund to give essential frontline workers hazard pay. The bill also includes a new round of direct payments to Americans.
During the call with AFSCME, Biden said that higher state and local funding would allow for every essential worker to receive CCP Virus testing and be provided with personal protective equipment.
“[House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have been pushing hard as hell to fund local communities. The fact of the matter is that every town you work in … they have a budget and they cannot deficit spend. The only operation in the world that can do that is the federal government,” Biden said.
After the House Democrats passed the bill in May, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the measure a “seasonal catalog of left-wing oddities” and an “unserious effort.”
The White House also issued a statement, saying that the bill “is more concerned with delivering on long-standing partisan and ideological wishlists than with enhancing the ability of our nation to deal with the public health and economic challenges we face.”
However, Biden called the lack of support from the Senate Republicans and the White House on funding for state and local governments “absolutely bizarre.”
“This is almost criminal the way in which he’s handled this,” the former vice president said in a reference to the way President Donald Trump has addressed the CCP Virus pandemic.
Before the HEROES Act, Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March that included $150 billion in aid to states and localities, though some officials argued it was not enough to handle the CCP Virus crisis.