All 10 GOP senators behind skimpy COVID relief offer happily voted for $740 billion military budget

All 10 GOP senators behind skimpy COVID relief offer happily voted for $740 billion military budget
Mitt Romney speaking with Martha McSally supporters at an October 2018 event in Gilbert, Arizona, Gage Skidmore

Each of the 10 Republican senators who threw their support behind a widely criticized $600 billion coronavirus relief proposal on Sunday recently approved a whopping $740 billion military budget, a vote progressive lawmakers are highlighting as further evidence of the GOP's warped priorities amid a devastating pandemic and economic crisis.

"Every single one of these Senate Republicans voted to give the Pentagon billions more than what they're willing to give to the American people," Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), chair emeritus of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), tweeted Sunday in response to the GOP's proposed "compromise" package.

"$1.9 trillion is the floor—not the ceiling," Pocan added, referring to President Joe Biden's opening coronavirus relief offer.

While the details have not yet been fully hammered out, the GOP's watered-down relief proposal currently calls for reducing Biden's proposed direct payments from $1,400 to $1,000 per individual—and dramatically restricting eligibility for the checks—as well as scaling back the unemployment relief provisions outlined in the president's plan.

"The Biden plan would increase those benefits to $400 weekly and extend them through September," the Washington Post explained. "The GOP plan would keep the payments at $300 per week and extend them through June."

The Republican proposal, as it stands, was summarized in a letter sent to Biden Sunday by Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Mitt Romney (Utah), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Bill Cassidy (La.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Todd Young (Ind.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Mike Rounds (S.D.), and Thom Tillis (N.C.).

All ten Republicans voted in July to approve the Senate's version of the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act, and then voted last month to override former President Donald Trump's veto of the measure.

With Biden expected to meet with the group of Republicans at the White House on Monday, progressives reiterated their position that anything less than the president's opening offer would be unacceptable and argued Democrats should use their unified control of the federal government to pass a robust aid package without GOP input.

"Covid relief can't wait any longer," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the CPC. "If the Republican Party doesn't feel the urgency of Americans who are struggling to keep food on the table, then it's time for us to act without them."

CPC vice chair Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) echoed that massage late Sunday, declaring that "during a global health crisis and a historic economic hardship, this is not the time to 'compromise' our residents."

"The QAnonGOP jammed through tax cuts and goodies for their corporate pals," Tlaib tweeted, referring to Republicans' use of the budget reconciliation process in 2017 to pass their $1.5 trillion tax bill with a simple-majority vote.

"Now, let's jam for the people," said Tlaib. "Reconciliation if they don't want to play ball."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.