WASHINGTON — Only one member of Georgia’s congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, voted against the latest round of coronavirus relief.
The roughly $900 billion package — part of a bigger government funding deal that Congress approved Monday — includes checks up to $600 for individual Americans, enhanced unemployment benefits, dollars for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, and money to help ailing businesses and industries.
The House approved it with a vote of 359-53. The Senate voted 92-6.
“Sadly, more than 317,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19, and the livelihoods of millions of Americans have been completely upended by this pandemic,” U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta, said late Monday after voting for the package. “Help is on the way to save lives and the livelihoods of Americans struggling during the pandemic.”
Hice, a Republican from Monroe, voted “no” on both portions of the legislation. He had complained on social media that members were being asked to vote on legislation they had little time to review.
“5 days from Christmas, a stimulus + omnibus deal has finally been negotiated in secret,” he wrote in a Twitter post Sunday evening.
U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, was the only member of Georgia’s congressional delegation who missed the vote. He is quarantining after testing positive for the coronavirus last week and chose not to designate a proxy who could have submitted a vote on his behalf. Republicans have generally avoided taking advantage of the ability to cast votes without traveling to Washington, a rule change that Democrats backed during the pandemic.
The House voted 327-85 for the portion of the bill that funds the government through September, referred to as the omnibus.
The Senate approved the measure as a single package late Monday night. It now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.
Several Georgia Republicans who voted in favor of the coronavirus relief package and the omnibus said they overlooked flaws in the bill because it reflects compromise.
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, noted that the government funding measure included a new policy to end surprise medical billing and funding to keep up Trump’s effort to fortify the U.S.-Mexico border.
“This legislative package, which includes money for routine government operations as well as extended COVID-19 relief, is a bipartisan-bicameral compromise that meets many Republican priorities to help American families, small businesses, and states continue to combat COVID-19 and get our economy back on track,” Scott said in a statement. “While not perfect, I’m satisfied with the package and will continue to work to provide resources for those struggling with the impacts of the virus.”
U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, campaigning as a ticket ahead of the Jan. 5 runoffs, released a joint statement ahead of the vote celebrating the compromise that includes bailouts for airlines, a continuation of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses and additional support for farmers.
“Over $47 billion has already gone directly to Georgia’s families, farmers, front-line workers, schools, hospitals,” they said, “and more is on the way.”
Yes on coronavirus stimulus and omnibus:
U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler
U.S. Sen. David Perdue
U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Evans
U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany
U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler
U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville
U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-West Point
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia
U.S. Rep. Kwanza Hall, D-Atlanta
U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton
U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta
U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville
No on coronavirus stimulus and omnibus:
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Monroe
Did not vote:
U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville