The lower house of the United States, controlled by the Democratic opposition, approved on Friday a new rescue plan worth 3 trillion dollars – which the White House opposes – to face the crisis caused by the pandemic.
In addition, Democrats also approved a rule change that allows the lower house to hold remote voting and hearings for the duration of the coronavirus emergency.
3 BILLION RESCUE
The rescue plan was approved with 208 votes in favor and 199 against (14 of them Democrats), although its future is doubtful since the Republicans, who oppose it, have already announced that they will block it in the Senate.
The economic package includes a trillion dollars to rescue states and local governments, as well as another round of direct payments of $ 1,200 to taxpayers with incomes below $ 75,000 annually, this time including immigrants without papers.
The White House and Republicans – as well as some Democrats – oppose both turning to the undocumented and rescuing the states, since they warn that in some cases their financial problems are prior to the pandemic.
If successful, this plan would be the largest in the history of the United States, exceeding the 2.2 billion approved at the end of March and doubling the 3 billion approved to date to face the economic crisis.
Democrats promoted this new plan after learning that the jobless claims accumulated over the past two months now reach 36.5 million, so they highlighted their urgency against some skeptical Republicans to continue increasing public spending.
HISTORICAL CHANGE OF THE REGULATION
Before voting on the economic stimulus package, Democrats also approved a change in the lower house rules that will allow, for the first time in its 231-year history, remote meeting and voting.
The remote vote will be carried out through proxies present in Washington, although the door is opened to use technology in the future.
The regulation change will allow the lower house to resume its activity, which has been practically paralyzed since the outbreak of the pandemic in early March, meeting on rare occasions to approve rescue packages.
Republicans opposed the change in regulation en bloc, arguing that it modifies the essence of Congress.
“Our (parents) founders used to ride horses or carts for days under difficult conditions to get to Washington,” said Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa.
“The Constitution,” he added, “has not been infected with the virus. Why are we voting on a measure to basically suspend it?”
However, the second-highest House Democrat, Steny H. Hoyer, argued that “this is not a dangerous precedent, just a common sense solution to an unprecedented crisis that requires ingenuity and adaptability as an institution” .