BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — Votes for the American Rescue Plan, the latest COVID-19 stimulus package from the federal government, fell along partisan lines Wednesday.
In New York, Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19) voted for the bill, while his Republican colleagues, Rep. Tom Reed (NY-23), Rep. John Katko (NY-24) and Rep. Claudia Tenney (NY-22), voted in opposition. No House Republicans voted in favor of the bill.
In Pennsylvania, Rep. Fred Keller (PA-12) stood with Republicans against the bill, while Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-8) voted in favor. The relief package totaled $1.9 trillion worth of spending after weeks of deliberation.
Tenney, who retook the 22nd district seat last year, said she worries the spending bill will damage the economy.
“I also fear, along with economists on both sides of the aisle, that this massive bill will lead to significantly higher inflation that will hurt working New York families in the long run,” Tenney said in a statement.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen rejected concerns that the package could lead to run-away inflation, telling MSNBC that inflation before the pandemic “was too low rather than too high.” Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal said they generally expect annual inflation to rise by the middle of this year and then fall gradually.
Delgado advocated for the plan, during a virtual town hall on the issue Tuesday night. In a statement Wednesday, he highlighted the $130.2 billion for local aid to counties and municipalities.
“The American Rescue Plan will get shots in residents’ arms, money in pockets, kids in school, open signs on Main Street, and dollars directly to local governments,” said the sophomore Democrat, who represents part of Broome, Delaware, Otsego and Ulster counties.
In a statement on Facebook, Katko, a Republican, criticized the large price tag of the bill, arguing that it will financially burden future generations.
“However, despite the bipartisan work to date on COVID relief, and a willingness by sensible legislators on both sides to deliver consensus-driven policies that put our nation on the road to recovery, Democratic Leaders have forgone collaboration and instead moved forward with a massive partisan spending package,” said Katko, whose district includes Cayuga County and part of Central New York.
Reed, whose district spans the Southern Tier and part of the Finger Lakes, voted against the bill. As of Wednesday afternoon, he had not issued a comment on the plan’s passing, although he tweeted earlier this week to say he introduced an amendment in the House to block people in prisons from receiving stimulus checks. Reed said House Democrats refused to debate it.
In a video posted to Twitter Wednesday, Cartwright said the plan is what Americans need to get the economy moving as more people are vaccinated.
“This is the bill that will help us get across the finish line and get our country back on track,” Cartwright said.
Keller voiced his opposition for the relief packages on Newsmax on Wednesday. He raised concerns funds had not yet been spent from previous COVID-19 stimulus plans.
“Americans need relief that is temporary, targeted and tied to COVID-19,” Keller later wrote in a statement on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, this bill falls on each of those benchmarks, and our kids and grandkids will be paying for it in higher taxes and lost opportunities for generations to come.”
The White House has indicated President Biden plans to sign the legislation Friday.