Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) took to Twitter Monday night to explain why she voted no on the $900 billion COVID relief bill, H.R. 133, rushed through Congress. In the now-viral video, garnering over 1.5 million views, Gabbard explains her rationale for turning down the massive spending bill, joining only one other Democrat, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, in voting “nay.”
In the video, Gabbard calls the jamming of H.R. 113 the “height of irresponsibility” since there was “no way anyone in Congress had the opportunity or time to read to know” what was in the bill. She goes on to say that in typical Washington D.C. fashion, provisions had been “snuck into these bills literally in the dark of night without any announcement.” This statement comes after several Members of Congress expressed frustration at the prospect of being forced to vote on over 5,500 pages of a bill just a few hours after receiving it.
Gabbard points out that the central intent of the bill was touted to be a way to provide direct relief to Americans hurting amidst COVID shutdowns, but this bill completely missed the mark. Instead, Rep Gabbard provides a list of the hundreds of billions of dollars being designated to other initiatives, including special interest groups, improvements to the military-industrial complex, and several foreign countries. She goes on to say that those elected to represent the people are now saying, “here’s what’s left for you.”
As the bill passed on the House floor with a 359-53 margin, Gabbard states that the “600 bucks” Americans would receive are an “insult and a slap in the face to every American struggling because of this COVID pandemic.” She points out that in her home state of Hawaii, the $600 would cover about “25% of your rent,” while Americans nationwide are facing evictions, an inability to purchase groceries, and even “medications for themselves and loved ones.” This is in direct contrast to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments on the House floor where she calls the $600 significant while categorizing the $1,000 tax cut bonuses received by Americans in 2018 as “crumbs” and “pathetic.”
Gabbard ends her insightful video expressing frustration with the bill, calling it a “representation of the screwed up priorities of Washington” where elected officials “should be fighting for you and making sure the American people come first.” This bill certainly seems to fail to put Americans first. It is now up to President Donald Trump to sign or veto this bill that clearly believes struggling Americans are nothing more than an afterthought.