Biggs, Lesko Vote Against Bipartisan Coronavirus Relief Package

Published: Saturday, March 14, 2020 - 5:06pm
Updated: Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 5:19pm
biggs.house.gov
Andy Biggs
Bret Jaspers/KJZZ
Debbie Lesko

The U.S. House overwhelmingly passed a coronavirus relief package early Saturday that would offer free tests and increase paid sick leave for the public. President Donald Trump said he supported the bill, which now heads to the Senate, and said he would sign it as soon as possible. But 40 Republicans voted no on the bill — including two from Arizona.

Debbie Lesko and Andy Biggs were among the representatives who voted against the bipartisan relief package, which frees up billions of dollars to offer relief to people affected by the coronavirus and expand access to testing.

Citing the bill’s length, Lesko said that she “could not, in good conscience, vote for a hundred-plus page bill that neither I nor my staff had the ability to review.”

Biggs didn’t publicly comment on his vote, and the voicemail box at his office was full. The most recent tweet from his official twitter, which was posted around the time of the vote, blames "the Left" for the spread of the virus.

"Very few people saw (Trump's January) press conference," Biggs said in a video posted to his official Twitter page. "What they did hear was people like Joe Biden say this was xenophobic, it's no big deal. The reality is that most people didn't hear even that, because the Democrats were so focused on impeachment. The administration did a great job slowing this down."

Democrats Ann Kirkpatrick and Raul Grijalva did not vote on the bill. Neither did Republican Paul Gosar, who has been in a self-quarantine after coming into contact with an infected person at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month. Grijalva tweeted his support for the bill.

The bill heads to the U.S. Senate, which has been in recess since Thursday. It will reconvene Monday. Sen. Martha McSally hasn't said how she plans to vote on the bill, but has voiced frustration with the slow pace of testing.

"I'm frustrated, as are many people, that more testing capability isn't available," McSally said. "We pushed on the federal officials that we need to move out to include the private sector, who can often move faster."

McSally's opponent in the upcoming race for the late-Sen. John McCain's senate seat, astronaut Mark Kelly, urged bipartisanship

"Democrats and Republicans in congress and at the White House can try to figure out a way to mitigate some of the worst effects, the economic effects of this issue," Kelly said. "They need to work together to do that, they need to get politics out of the discussion."

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