While Democrats voted for a third time to block consideration of legislation that would allow for the safe reopening of schools in accordance with science, their party continues to tout their so-called “rescue” plan that’s anything but.[i]
There’s been plenty of coverage already of the waste in this legislation, whether it’s over $100M for Speaker Pelosi’s Silicon Valley Subway,[ii] a special provision to fund Senator’s Schumer’s Seaway bridge,[iii] hundreds of millions of dollars for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, resources that allow for the taxpayer funding of abortion, and more.
President Biden has asked Republicans what from the bill would they cut. It’s clear that the answer is plenty.[iv]
Simply put, this legislation is not about COVID relief. Over 90% of the bill is focused on enacting President Biden’s and Speaker Pelosi’s political priorities that will only hurt our recovery efforts, while just 9% of the bill actually includes spending related to combatting the virus. There’s no question that this legislation is more about Democrats’ agenda than doing what’s right for the nation. The attached graph from Leader McCarthy’s office tells the story:[v]
Their legislation as a whole is flat-out irresponsible.
Of the $4T in COVID relief that has been appropriated already by Congress, $1T has not yet been spent. We could focus on spending that effectively instead of voting to spend another $2T that our children and grandchildren will be forced to pay for.
And unlike the previous efforts to pass COVID relief, this entire effort has been partisan from the start. There was no attempt from the President or Democrats to work with Republicans on commonsense legislation that was temporary, targeted, and tied to COVID. Throughout the committee process, Democrats rejected 243/245 (99.1%) of amendments offered by Republicans, and have made clear that they are more concerned with rushing this bill through the House instead of working in a surgical way to craft legislation that focuses on defeating the virus.
In an op-ed, the lead Republicans on the Budget and Oversight Committees – Reps. Jason Smith and James Comer – explained how the goal of this bill is for Democrats to satisfy a political agenda and bail out their political allies:
Fox News (Reps. Smith & Comer): [vi]“Dems’ $1.9T COVID relief bill – wrong plan, wrong time, wrong reasons. Here’s why”
The goal is to satisfy a political agenda and bail out political allies. The guise is COVID-19 relief. Regardless, their plan means tremendous harm to America’s working-class. It is the wrong plan, at the wrong time, for all the wrong reasons.
Less than 9% of the spending in the bill would go toward combating COVID-19 through public health measures like vaccinations, testing and tracking the virus. Of the $130 billion in spending that Democrats claim is desperately needed to reopen America’s K-12 public schools, only 5% would occur this fiscal year – a clear sign that their urgency to notch some wins for their political base is not matched with an urgency to get schools open in the near future.
It is estimated that nearly $1 trillion in existing COVID-19 funding remains unspent. We recently introduced a resolution that would require President Biden provide to Congress a thorough and accurate accounting of any unspent COVID-19 funding. Such a simple measure of transparency ought to be a prerequisite before more is asked of American taxpayers.
There’s so much more that’s problematic about this package. Whether that’s their decision to change the minimum wage law that would make wages $0 for 1.4M Americans who would lose their jobs, the fact that even liberal economists like Larry Summers and Steve Rattner have expressed concerns that the bill is too big and could cause inflationary problems, or the recognition that, not including the direct checks, almost half of this bill will not be spent until 2022 or later in a sign of how this isn’t really about overcoming COVID.
This is not a “rescue” bill. It is a bailout and payoff for the left, and the American people will hold Democrats responsible for their reckless leadership at this important moment if they continue to move forward with this legislation.