Golden Statement on the Heroes Act

May 15, 2020
Press Release

Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) released the following statement announcing his decision to vote against H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act:

“Today, I will vote against H.R. 6800. This was a difficult decision, because I support many provisions in the bill. However, by significantly expanding the scope of the legislation beyond core, urgent needs and insisting on the inclusion of a series of unrelated provisions, House leaders missed the opportunity to make bipartisan progress on these issues. Our communities desperately need relief, but this bill moves us no closer to delivering that relief.

“Our economy is still in freefall. Businesses are reeling — many of them sidelined from using the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which needs improvements — and as a result, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and in many cases their healthcare. States and localities, including many in Maine, are facing the consequences of massive budget shortfalls, including even more lost jobs, cuts to our schools, and a reduction in critical services like fire and police departments. On top of that, we remain underprepared to provide the testing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) necessary for the urgent task of safely reopening many areas of the country.

“The CARES Act, though well-intentioned, left rural America behind, denying Maine towns both large and small the aid needed to weather the storm and put narrow restrictions on the use of state aid, making it harder for governors to effectively address revenue shortfalls. It also left out hazard pay for healthcare workers and first responders, and it failed to include an emergency OSHA standard to protect our workers.

“It’s because these challenges are so great that I strongly believe that now is the time for unifying leadership from both houses of Congress and a serious effort to reach an agreement. Unfortunately, the response of Senator Mitch McConnell and many of his colleagues has been to say that we should sit back and allow states and towns to go bankrupt. That is an irresponsible approach and shows a disturbing lack of understanding of the depth of the economic crisis we face. The Senate needs to stop dragging its feet and come to the table to fix and build upon the CARES Act. But the best way to bring them to the table isn’t to pass a massive bill packed with unrelated, partisan provisions -- it’s to demonstrate leadership from the House by making a genuine effort to reach a bipartisan agreement.

“Since March, Congress has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in a nearly unanimous and bipartisan way. Today’s bill deliberately abandons that approach and makes more difficult the type of compromise that will be required to deliver the support our country needs. As I have repeatedly said, it is time for the House to lead by example and pass a targeted bill focused on the most pressing issues in this crisis -- legislation that will bring both sides of the aisle to the table. Together we can prevail, but only if we leave our partisan corners, put the country first, and work together to address this crisis. Today’s bill achieves none of those things, which is why I will not support it.” - Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02)

Golden’s decision follows a letter he led to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this week with House colleagues, urging the speaker to put aside the partisan approach and focus legislative efforts on a targeted, bipartisan COVID-19 bill that addresses only the most pressing needs facing Maine communities. Since voting to pass the CARES Act in March, Golden has worked to ensure the benefits of the bill are directed to Maine,advocated for CARES Act improvements based on what he has learned working directly with Mainers and small businesses, and pushed for additional measures to continue to confront the public health and economic challenges of COVID-19.