Conservative politicians in Oklahoma, forming a party-line bloc in voting against the third round of direct stimulus payments. They’ve found their usual talking point: blame the Democrats.
Responding to a federal bill that would have provided $1400 in cash payment to each citizen, all five U.S. House Republican Reps. from Oklahoma voted against it. They claim they’re focused on the “actual” victims.
Oklahoma U.S. House Delegation votes no on Covid relief
“What was passed here today was strictly a partisan bill, filled with the wish lists of Democrats, providing a broad range of benefits with no regard for the actual level of need of those on the receiving end of funding,” said Rep. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City. Ms. Bice, who stated during her campaign she hopes Congress can pass another coronavirus relief package, won her spot in Oklahoma’s fifth congressional district last November.
Rep. Tom Cole of Moore, Oklahoma, also voted no, saying Democrats had “thrown in completely unrelated items that just so happen to be at the top of their progressive wish list.” He did not explain what was on Democrat’s wish list other than financial support for Oklahomans faced with a mountain of bills and expenses as Covid continues to decimate public services in Oklahoma.
Tulsa’s Congressional District 1 Representative, Kevin Hern, voted against the bill as well, which includes resources for pandemic-related testing, vaccinations and other health care needs. Hern believes passing the bill will provide incentive for people to avoid work, stating “This additional payment prevents our families from returning to the workforce, with over 50% of recipients getting paid more to stay on welfare than to go back to work.”
Mayors plead for bill’s passage
Oklahoma City mayor David Holt was one of 31 Republican mayors to plead with lawmakers to pass the bill. He stated, “The major part of the bill that relates to cities is sorely needed. I don’t know any blue or red state or blue or red city that doesn’t have a revenue shortfall due to COVID-19’s fallout.” Mayor Holt also expressed concerns about continuing to provide financial resources for Oklahoma City police and fire departments following the Covid-19 pandemic. Norman Mayor Brea Clark joined Mr. Holt and others in urging politicians on both sides to pass the bill. Tulsa’s Republican Mayor G.T. Bynum did not sign the letter.
Despite the setbacks from U.S. House Republican lawmakers, Oklahoma residents of both parties can finally expect some financial relief, as the vote passed the House of Representatives 219-210. The bill now heads to the Democratic-controlled Senate, while President Biden, who proposed the economic support package, plans to sign it as quickly as possible.