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Miller-Meeks votes against 'partisan' resolution for $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package
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Miller-Meeks votes against 'partisan' resolution for $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package

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Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks on Friday voted against a budget resolution that could clear the way for President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

The House passed the Senate-amended budget plan by a vote 219-209, after senators agreed to an amendment by U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, to prevent a $15 federal minimum wage hike during a global pandemic.

Ernst, in a statement, said such move would kill jobs for lower-wage workers and severely burden Iowa small businesses and rural economies that are facing unprecedented challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miller-Meeks echoed Ernst in her own statement Friday on voting against the budget resolution.

"I am disappointed that Congressional leaders brought a partisan budget resolution to the floor costing $1.9 trillion of taxpayer dollars," Miller-Meeks said. "Congress has acted in a bipartisan manner to address the pandemic, and it is unfortunate that we are choosing to use the reconciliation process instead of having an open debate on a relief package that could have an immediate impact on the lives of our constituents."

Instead, Miller-Meeks argued Democrats pushed forward "partisan issues such as a national $15/hour minimum wage, which would kill thousands of jobs across the country and in southeastern Iowa, and bailouts for state governments, such as Illinois, who have mismanaged their budgets."

The budget resolution passed the Senate early Friday morning with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote following a marathon legislative session, where senators voted on amendments that could define the contours of the eventual COVID-19 aid bill.

The coronavirus aid package can now work its way through congressional committees with the goal of finalizing additional relief by mid-March, when extra unemployment assistance and other pandemic aid expires.

The push for additional COVID-19 stimulus comes amid new signs of a weakening U.S. economy. Employers added just 49,000 jobs in January, after cutting 227,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department said Friday. Restaurants, retailers, manufacturers and even the health care sector shed workers last month, meaning that private employers accounted for a meager gain of 6,000 jobs last month.

"While I am pleased to see funding going towards vaccine development and distribution, and supporting our schools and students, I am disappointed that the Administration has not established a plan to safely reopen schools, like we have in Iowa, even though the Centers for Disease Control saying that it is safe to return to in person learning," Miller-Meeks said in her statement.

"Going forward, I am hopeful that we can come together in Congress, in a bipartisan manner, to deliver real, targeted relief for our constituents," she said. "The American people need our help, and they need it now. We cannot afford to play partisan politics any longer. It is time to get to work."

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report

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