CBS4 Denver’s Danielle Chavira reports on the passage in the U.S. Senate this weekend of the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion comprehensive package of economic relief measures intended to see the nation through to the light slowly emerging at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic’s tunnel:
Colorado Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet praised the passage of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill on Saturday morning. The Senate approved the bill after debating it for more than 24 hours…
“With today’s vote, we are one step closer to providing the relief our country urgently needs,” said Bennet. “One year after the first confirmed COVID-19 case in our state, Coloradans continue to struggle in the face of this public health and economic crisis. From funding for public health jobs to expanded tax credits for working families, this bill will help us put an end to the pandemic and improve the lives of countless Americans.”
AP’s Alan Fram via the Denver Post:
Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper voted in favor. The bill includes Bennet’s idea to create a “Health Force” that will employ people to vaccinate against and test for COVID-19. It also includes an estimated $6 billion in funding for Colorado’s state and local governments, Hickenlooper said.
“People need help now,” the Democratic senator said in a statement. “This relief bill provides stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits, vaccines, small business grants and many other critical programs. We’re close to the end of this pandemic — we can’t let anyone fall through the cracks.”
The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein wrote Sunday about how times have changed in the decade since President Barack Obama passed a much smaller stimulus package over unhinged objections that would eventually snowball into the “Tea Party” reactionary political movement:
Since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, polling has found substantial support among Americans for providing more government aid for those in need. That is partially due to the nature of the current crisis, which for a time opened a deeper economic hole than even the Great Recession. But the shift is also the result of a reorientation on economic policy — on the left and on the right — that has transformed the political landscape.
On the right, congressional Republicans may still fret about higher deficits — but the most popular politician among their voters does not. As a candidate and as president, Donald Trump blew past Republican concerns about the deficit, pushing for trillions in additional spending and tax cuts and running unprecedented peacetime debt levels.
And on the left, Democratic lawmakers have increasingly learned to ignore fears about spending too much. Party leaders have said they suffered crippling political defeats in the 2010s precisely because they did not deliver enough meaningful economic relief under Obama — a mistake that they see an opportunity to correct under Biden. [Pols emphasis] Democrats also repeatedly tout the 2017 Republican tax cut, which is expected to add approximately $2 trillion to the national debt, as a reason to be skeptical of GOP concerns about fiscal restraint.
Make no mistake, despite the popularity of this aid package with ordinary Americans the Colorado Republican Party is sounding off angrily, setting themselves up to look villainously out of touch once the direct benefits in this legislation reach the overwhelming majority of Coloradans–CBS4:
“It is completely shameful how Senator Bennet and Senator Hickenlooper have sold out Colorado’s middle class and voted for this completely partisan liberal wishlist. This bill is the worst of Washington – Coloradans won’t forget that Bennet once again chose to follow Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in passing a wasteful, partisan, and extreme spending bill,” said Joe Jackson, spokesman of the Colorado GOP.
And then there’s Rep. Doug Lamborn, the former state lawmaker who knows that our state runs an incredibly tight budget due to TABOR and other constitutional fiscal chokeholds–but still clings to the offensive fabrication of a “blue state bailout.”
The massive spending bill goes on to continue unemployment insurance through August, in many cases paying people more to stay at home than they would earn working. It goes on to give a $50 billion bailout for disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a $350 billion bailout for the failed policies of poorly run blue states and localities… [Pols emphasis]
Like we said about Lauren Boebert last week Lamborn is trashing his own state. The estimated $6 billion in aid coming to Colorado’s state and local governments under this bill mean the difference between being able to meet the most basic responsibilities to the people of Colorado and cuts that everyone in the state will see and suffer from. There are so many Republicans in Colorado who know better than this: the Republican members of the Joint Budget Committee in the state legislature, or city governments from Colorado Springs to Grand Junction who have suffered devastating revenue shortfalls in no way related to “fiscal mismanagement.” Republicans in Washington blame the states, then Republicans in the states stoically absorb what they know is just plain wrong.
Fortunately, by the narrowest of margins, the U.S. Senate delivered relief on the scale of the massive need.
And if the theory is correct, voters will not forget it in 2022.