Colorado's congressional delegation reacted along party lines Wednesday after the House gave final approval to a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
Democrats cheered the legislation as a massive response to the pandemic and the damaged economy in its wake, while Republicans ripped the package, claiming it amounts to an unnecessary liberal spending spree.
“This is one of the most important pieces of legislation that Congress has passed in quite some time," said U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette. "It will put money in people’s pockets and shots in their arms."
The Denver Democrat said the bill's $1,400 direct payments to most adults and extended emergency unemployment benefits will help revive an economy slowed by more than 18 million Americans still out of work, a year after the pandemic was declared.
Added DeGette: "Now that it’s passed our focus needs to be on getting more of the vaccine produced and distributed as soon as possible so we can end this pandemic once and for all.”
The bill passed 220-211 out of the House on a near party-line vote — just one Democrat voted against it, along with every Republican — just days after the Senate gave its approval along party lines on a 50-49 vote.
"Next stop: President Biden’s desk!" tweeted U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, along with an emoji representing clapping hands.
“The American Rescue Plan will help us crush the virus, return children safely to the classroom, get vaccines to the people, put dollars into families’ pockets and put people back to work," the Lafayette Democrat said in a statement.
According to the House Democrats' summary of the 628-page bill, Colorado stands to receive $6 billion in funding for state and local governments, as well as $1.2 billion for K-12 schools, $495 million for higher education and $466 million to pay for child care.
"This plan will address both the public health and economic needs produced by this crisis and ensure we are answering the many devastating impacts our communities have witnessed over the last year—feeding hungry kids and families, supporting workers who have been laid off and businesses who are struggling and providing the necessary infrastructure to get Americans vaccinated and our economy reopened as quickly as is safe," Neguse said.
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, the delegation's senior Republican, blasted the bill as "unnecessary, costly & dishonest" in a tweet.
"The American people deserve the truth about the Democrat's spending bill," the Colorado Springs lawmaker tweeted Wednesday after the bill had passed.
"It is not coronavirus relief. It is a massive progressive wish list. I voted NO."
"This is what progress looks like," tweeted U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.
The Colorado Democrat hailed the bill's inclusion of a temporary expanded child tax credit analysts say could reduce childhood poverty dramatically, a proposal Bennet has been championing for years.
"From investing in public health to cutting childhood poverty in half, this historic legislation will help us beat the pandemic and provide immediate relief to millions of Americans," Bennet said.
On Saturday, after the bill passed the Senate, Democratic U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper said in a statement that he's received "thousand" of "gut-wrenching" messages from Coloradans who are seeking relief from the pandemic and the economic woes it has caused.
"People need help now," he said. "This relief bill provides stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits, vaccines, small business grants, and many other critical programs. We’re close to the end of this pandemic — we can’t let anyone fall through the cracks.”
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, the Windsor Republican who doubles as chairman of the Colorado GOP, slammed the legislation.
"The only thing bipartisan about this legislation was the opposition to it," Buck tweeted.
Buck is the only member of Colorado's congressional delegation to have voted against every pandemic relief package, including nearly $4 trillion in spending contained in several bipartisan measures passed last year.
“The American Rescue Plan is long overdue and answers the call from people across the country to give significant support for the physical, emotional, and financial health of all Americans,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, an Arvada Democrat, in a statement.
“The majority of Americans support this package because it gets more shots in arms, helps students get back into schools, puts people back to work, and provides a needed boost to small businesses and our economy as we begin to emerge from this pandemic.”
Polling from Pew Research Center conducted March 1-7 found 70% of American adults approve of the legislation, including 41% of Republicans and independents who lean Republican.
U.S. Rep. Jason Crow said in a statement Wednesday that the bill "delivers on the promise we made to the millions of struggling families, workers, and small businesses across the country."
The Aurora Democrat added: “The American Rescue Plan will help us more quickly get shots into arms, children safely back into schools, businesses reopened, and Americans back to work. This will help make the difference between a summer that looks close to normal or more months of pain and suffering.”
Freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Silt denounced the bill Wednesday on Twitter.
“Whenever I smell wasteful spending, I’ll advocate for American taxpayers," she wrote. "These career politicians need to know that I will call them out every step of the way.”