Stauber, DFL spar over his vote to reject COVID-19 relief

Stauber derided Biden's $1.9 trillion plan as "liberal giveaways," while the state DFL said it was "truly astonishing" he would reject aid to his district, and $1,400 checks for Americans.

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U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber

U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber and the Minnesota DFL had it out over the weekend over the congressman's rejection of the latest federal COVID-19 relief effort.

Stauber, R-Hermantown, voted no early Saturday on the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act, calling it bloated and unnecessarily partisan when previous coronavirus relief packages were not. No Republicans supported the bill.

“I am hearing from my constituents daily who are fed up with reckless spending that we cannot afford,” Stauber said in a news release, explaining his vote. “Instead, they want Congress to deliver targeted solutions that don’t saddle our children with even more debt.”

The bill passed the House of Representatives, 219-212, and will next be debated in the Senate. The bill would send $1,400 checks to Americans making under $75,000, and also send hundreds of millions of dollars for vaccination programs, expanded unemployment insurance, and aid to state and local governments.

“It is truly astonishing that Congressman Stauber would oppose funding for vaccine distribution, safe school reopenings, and $1,400 relief checks for the American people,” Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said in a news release over the weekend.


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Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin

The state’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party said it crunched numbers and that $244 million from the bill would be headed to Stauber’s 8th Congressional District.

“The American Rescue Act also contains roughly $244 million in funding for state and local governments in Stauber’s district, money those governments need to pay for police, health care services, and so much more,” Martin said, calling Stauber’s decision “disappointing,” but not surprising.

The DFL cited polling that showed strong support for the plan, which was among Biden’s top priorities since taking over the White House.

Stauber claimed there was money remaining from previous COVID-19 rescue legislation still to be distributed, and he rejected much of the funding as unrelated to COVID-19. He cited a $15 minimum wage provision that Democrats wanted, but has already been spiked from consideration in the Senate.

"The devastating truth is this — the president and his far-left allies in Congress want to pass a bill loaded with liberal giveaways and pet projects, which Americans don’t need and simply cannot afford," Stauber said.

Stauber added that he supported elements of the relief bill, but didn’t indicate which ones.


“Congressman Stauber’s vote against the American Rescue Act is an insult to the working families, small businesses, and local governments struggling to make ends meet during this historic global pandemic,” Martin said.

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