Ossoff Touts Pelosi's Coronavirus Bill, Which Benefits Wealthy in Blue States

August 17, 2020

Georgia Democratic Senate hopeful Jon Ossoff came out in support for Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D., Calif.) $3 trillion HEROES Act, which is opposed by many in Pelosi's own caucus due to included tax changes that only benefit residents of high-tax states like New York and California.

Ossoff said at an online town hall Sunday that Senate Republicans should take up Pelosi's legislation immediately, but 14 House Democrats in vulnerable districts opposed the bill that passed on May 15.

The HEROES Act contains a number of Democratic pet proposals, including a two-year removal of the cap on state and local income tax (SALT) deductions at $10,000. That would chiefly benefit wealthy residents in high-tax states such as California and New York, whose residents have provided Ossoff with the vast majority of his out-of-state donations. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated a two-year SALT cap repeal would give $100,000 to households making more than $1 million a year and almost nothing to those making less than $50,000 a year.

Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.), Ossoff's opponent, voted for the 2017 Republican tax reform that capped SALT deductions at $10,000, saying it leveled the federal tax playing field for voters in states such as Georgia.

While Pelosi's bill passed the Democrat-controlled House, several House Democrats voted against it, including top GOP targets Abby Finkenauer (Iowa), Ben McAdams (Utah), Abigail Spanberger (Va.), and Kendra Horn (Okla.). Iowa's four Democratic Senate hopefuls, including eventual nominee Theresa Greenfield, also all opposed the HEROES Act when asked about it in May. Rep. Hank Johnson (D., Ga.), Ossoff's former boss, voted for it.

Ossoff's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The HEROES Act also contains measures such as unemployment payments for illegal immigrants and $25 billion to the U.S. Postal Service. Pelosi has argued the extent of the pandemic demands sweeping legislation.

The two sides on Capitol Hill remain far apart on the next round of coronavirus relief. Senate Republicans have proposed a $1 trillion relief bill, while Pelosi has said she would not go below $2 trillion.