3 Arizona Republican congressmen vote against COVID-19 relief bill
PHOENIX — Three of Arizona’s Republican U.S. House representatives voted against the $900 billion coronavirus relief package that was ultimately passed by Congress Monday night.
Reps. David Schweikert, Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar were among 50 House Republicans who voted no on the measure.
“It was actually one of the more difficult votes I’ve ever had to make,” Rep. David Schweikert told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News Tuesday.
The legislation to deliver much-needed assistance to individuals and hard-hit businesses was packaged with a $1.4 trillion spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.
Schweikert said the bill included pieces he has worked to get approved, such as the ability for Americans to deduct more medical expenses from their taxes.
However, he couldn’t justify voting for the whole bill due to its 5,593-page length and the limited time to read all of it.
“If it was an honest piece of legislation, this typically would have been about seven different votes over about a 10-day period and instead to wait until the last moment, the last night, the single largest spending bill in U.S. history, the largest bill by number of pages in U.S. history and then to drop it on you, ‘hey you have a couple hours, just go vote yes,'” Schweikert said.
The bill passed in the House 359-53 and the Senate 92-6.
“That was hard because we had so many wins for Arizona in it, but we were coming across so many things that were just bad for the people of Arizona and at certain points you have to make the decision,” Schweikert said of his no vote.
Gosar tweeted a statement saying he could not support the bill as it “fails to compensate small and medium sized businesses while providing only meager relief to the American people.”
Why I voted “No” on tonight’s “COVID” relief bill. pic.twitter.com/47spMyibP5
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) December 22, 2020
Biggs also tweeted his displeasure with the legislation’s passing.
After days of backroom negotiations & only a handful of hours to read the 6,000-page legislation, the House passed the omnibus & COVID-19 spending bill tonight.
Congress continues to fail the American people & bankrupt our grandchildren’s future. https://t.co/n73gZJpK9V
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) December 22, 2020
Rep. Debbie Lesko was the only House Republican from Arizona to vote yes on the measure.
On the other side of the aisle, all five of Arizona’s Democratic representatives, as well as Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, voted to approve the bill.
Rep. Greg Stanton said in a statement that although this bill passed, Congress needs to begin working on an additional package now to deliver further support to Americans next month.
“We can’t allow this to be the last relief package for the American people,” he said.