Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) was the only Democrat in the House of Representatives to vote against the American Rescue Plan (aka the COVID-19 relief plan, the Biden stimulus). The bill passed the House of Representatives in a final vote of 220-211, with no Republicans voting for the bill.
Golden released a statement defending his vote against the Rescue Plan, claiming opposition to “borrowing and spending hundreds of billions” that he defined as a “risk” to economic recovery and his personal legislative priorities.
Golden’s comment runs contrary to most Democrats in liberal, moderate, and conservative districts who supported the plan, as it is expected to provide relief during the pandemic and lift millions of Americans out of poverty.
Polling has shown that the rescue plan is extremely popular, with 70% of Americans — including millions of Republicans, along with Democrats and independents, supporting the bill.
President Joe Biden will sign the legislation and release a $1,400 direct payment stimulus, along with funds for states hurt by the pandemic, and money for vaccines and education. Golden voted against all of that.
Here is the full text of Rep. Jared Golden defending his vote against the relief bill:
WASHINGTON — After voting against the $1.9 trillion legislative package to address the coronavirus pandemic last month, Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) will once again vote against the legislation after it was amended by the Senate. Before the vote, he released the following statement:
“I will vote against the coronavirus relief legislation passed by the Senate over the weekend.
“While the Senate made modest changes to the legislation, some of those changes undermined parts of the bill I do support, and others were insufficient to address my concerns with the overall size and scope of the bill. Although I support the Senate’s effort to reduce the number of wealthier households that will receive stimulus checks, they did not go far enough, and other changes — like removing the minimum wage increase or providing a lower unemployment benefit — undermined policies that I support. I voted for a $15 minimum wage in the last Congress, and given the opportunity, I intend to do so again.
“I know there are people who will continue to need assistance getting through the final stages of this pandemic, which is why I have argued that Congress should have addressed their needs with a targeted bill that extends unemployment benefits, funds vaccine distribution, and increases investments in our public health infrastructure.
“My vote today should not be construed as an unwillingness to support my constituents and the economy through this pandemic. That very willingness is why I have supported $4 trillion in spending in the last year on food assistance, child care subsidies, relief for renters and homeowners, federal unemployment assistance, and support for small businesses. However, many of these programs are not currently at risk of running out of funding, thanks to the nearly $1 trillion bill we passed in late December, and some of these programs are only just now beginning to be distributed to people in Maine.
“When combined with the over $4 trillion we have already spent battling the coronavirus, borrowing and spending hundreds of billions more in excess of meeting the most urgent needs poses a risk to both our economic recovery and the priorities I would like to work with the Biden Administration to achieve, like rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and fixing our broken and unaffordable healthcare system.” – Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02)