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Jared Golden Casts Lone Democratic Vote Against Pandemic Relief Package

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Kris Bridges
/
For Maine Public
Jared Golden at an October debate hosted by Maine Public.

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District was the only member of the Democratic Party to oppose the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion measure that provides direct relief to working families, state and local governments and schools.

In a written statement, Golden said some of the changes made by the Senate undermined parts of the bill he does support, and others were insufficient to address his concerns about the overall size and scope of the bill.

“My vote today should not be construed as an unwillingness to support my constituents and the economy through this pandemic,” Golden said. “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.”

Those priorities include rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and fixing what he calls a broken health care system. Golden also voted against an earlier version of the bill.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District voted to support both versions of the package. She said in a statement that the American Rescue Plan is one of the most important pieces of legislation Congress will ever pass.

“Without significant action, the economic damage caused by COVID-19 will last well beyond the pandemic,” Pingree said.

The package includes $1,400 checks for most taxpayers, extends federal unemployment benefits scheduled to run out this weekend, provides assistance for states and municipalities as well as funding for vaccine, personal protection equipment and relief to many businesses and health care providers.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the measure into law by the end of the week.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.