WASHINGTON — Hawaii Congressman Ed Case broke with his Democratic colleagues Wednesday and voted against a budget resolution that paves the way for the Senate to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package without Republican support.

The 218-212 vote was almost entirely along party lines.

No Republicans voted to pass the so-called “budget reconciliation” resolution, which allows Democrats in the Senate to pass Biden’s plan with a simple majority rather than the 60 votes that are typically necessary for most legislation to move forward.

Congressman Ed Case and Attorney General Clare Connors attend a press conference at the main Post Office building located on Merchant Street.
Congressman Ed Case would prefer a bipartisan solution to coronavirus relief. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

Republicans have balked at Biden’s proposed COVID-19 relief package, which they consider too expensive.

Only Case and fellow Democrat, U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, of Maine, crossed party lines to vote against it.

Case was unavailable for an interview Thursday to discuss his reasons for voting against the measure.

His office instead issued a statement that said he supports Biden’s proposal, but would prefer passing a bipartisan measure that would provide more money for vaccine distribution, opening schools and direct stimulus payments. 

“I oppose use of the budget reconciliation process to get there, as it abandons any pretense at bipartisanship, will delay even the most urgently-needed assistance, and may well end up failing since it requires virtually every Democrat in the Senate and House to vote for the final measure,” Case said in his statement.

“I also don’t support adding non-COVID emergency issues to COVID emergency assistance measures as many of my colleagues are seeking.”

Case sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday expressing a similar sentiment about the need to pass legislation focused on vaccine distribution quickly rather than bog it down in reconciliation. 

He signed the letter along with three other members of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, which bills itself as a group of fiscally responsible Democrats who believe in strong national defense and working across party lines.

A group of 10 GOP senators including Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney offered Biden a $618 billion counter proposal that strips out funding for state and local governments, reduces the size and scope of direct payments to individuals and eliminates a provision for a federal $15 minimum wage.

You can read Case’s letter here:

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