Congress should respect other house’s votes

The concluding sentence in Friday’s article, “Congress may work into weekend on virus relief” (Dec. 18, 2A), was incorrect when it stated: “The pending bill is the first significant legislative response to the pandemic since the landmark CARES Act passed virtually unanimously in March…”

The U. S. House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act in mid-May authorizing more than $2 trillion in relief (including extending unemployment benefits through January, creating a $175 billion housing assistance fund to help pay rents and mortgages, adding $100 billion infusion for hospitals and other health care workers, $75 billion more for virus testing, and boosting the Payroll Protection Program by another $10 billion, among other measures). That bill was sent to the U. S. Senate for consideration and action.

“I don’t think we have yet felt the urgency of acting immediately,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (The Alpena News, Wednesday, May 13, 2020, Page 3A). Sen. McConnell refused to put that legislation on the agenda for debate, amendment, and action by the U. S. Senate. That inaction on his part more than six months ago blocked the relief response which the U. S. House of Representatives had approved.

A “bicameral” Congress needs to respect the legislative action of each house at least enough to put their actions on the docket for debate and amendment. For one person in one house of Congress to be able to block the legislation of the other house entirely is a problem, in my opinion.




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