December 21, 2020

Watson Coleman Votes for Additional Coronavirus Package, Calls for More Direct Relief Payments

Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) issued the following statement after voting to pass parts of H.R. 133 -  the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 - legislation to provide Coronavirus relief. 

“This is not the bill I wanted, and it’s not the bill struggling families, struggling businesses, and a nation being ravaged by the latest wave of the coronavirus deserve. I’m deeply disappointed that this is all that Congress can muster — and that real relief, including aid for local and state governments and the teachers, first responders and other critical workers they employ, was something Republicans refused to consider. 

“While this bill does provide direct payments, Americans will receive a paltry $600, just $100 per month since the last relief package. Some others will receive $300 per week in unemployment insurance payments, but many will not. It was reported that in order to get this and other important provisions like anti-hunger assistance and eviction moratoriums my party’s leadership had to trade tax deductions for “three martini lunches,” money for Space Force, and further appropriations for our already bloated military budget. Those were the Republican’s priorities going into this process. 

“Like many of you I am greatly disappointed in a process that has seen the implicit message of the United States Federal Government to its citizens become, ‘you’re on your own.’ The coronavirus crisis and the resulting economic fallout offered us an opportunity to bring our country together to fight a common enemy. Instead, because of misplaced priorities, political considerations, and outright cruelty, we’re making the same old mistakes.

“Due to a rarely used procedural measure I was able to vote in favor of coronavirus relief while voting against allocations to the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security for things like a border wall. The manner in which this bill was presented to Members of Congress – 5 hours to read a nearly 5600-page bill before voting – is also distressing. This is not how the people’s business should be done. 

“My hope is that the next Congress, in collaboration with a new President, will be able to establish meaningful assistance for everyday Americans and hard hit state and municipal  governments to help them through this crisis. It is past time we took a real stand to help Americans.”