Spending on Steroids in COVID Relief Bill

Joe Biden is set to sign what the White House has declared “the most progressive bill in history”, the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by the House on Wednesday. This is a jolt of federal spending unprecedented in size and scope. The bill is almost three times more expensive than the massive stimulus package Congress approved shortly after former President Obama took office and comes on top of nearly $4 trillion in coronavirus rescue spending from Washington last year.

What is significantly different about this package is its’ enormous expansion of the federal welfare state. True emergency relief would be targeted, timely and temporary. This bill addresses urgent needs and then buries them under a mountain of unnecessary spending. After much talk about unity and bipartisanship, Biden will be signing a mammoth piece of legislation into law without earning a single yes vote or allowing a single amendment from a Republican in the House or Senate.

What’s in the bill?

Taxpayer-Funded Abortions

The Hyde amendment has habitually been added to annual appropriations bills over more than four decades to prohibit funding of abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is endangered. Planned Parenthood has still received millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars but there were restrictions on how those dollars could be applied.

A Hyde-type amendment to the current $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill was co-sponsored by 206 House Representatives but Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee rejected the amendment and the House Rules Committee refused to allow it to be considered on the House floor.

A similar amendment was presented in the Senate but only received 52 votes out of the needed 60 to include protection against taxpayer funding for abortion. “Without Hyde protection in the reconciliation package, over $414 billion in taxpayer dollars could potentially be used to pay for elective abortions or plans that cover elective abortions,” said a statement from Rep. Jackie Walorski’s office. $1.9 Trillion ‘COVID-19’ Bill Would Pay for Abortions and Intersectional ‘Art’ (dailysignal.com).

Voters who believed Joe Biden would not force American taxpayers to pay for abortions were deceived. (Is it truly deception when his 2020 campaign website revealed that he favored not only nationwide abortion on demand but also federal funding of it?)

Blue State Bailouts

The $350 billion allocated for state and local governments will be heavily directed to Democrat-run states and cities. (California receives $42.2 billion of the total. Pelosi’s San Francisco will receive a projected $600 million, helping erase the majority of a $650 million budget deficit they were facing from years of failed fiscal policies. $50 billion goes to New York that has been poorly managed during the pandemic, including falsifying data on nursing home COVID-related deaths) Instead of allocating dollars based on population as is typical, this legislation divides revenues based on unemployment numbers.

Of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates, eight are run by Democrats. This is primarily due to the lockdown policies that have been implemented by Democrat Governors and Mayors. States like Florida that took early steps to reopen their economies have lower unemployment rates compared to the national average and will receive much less than their failed counterparts. (Even with early reopening, Florida’s COVID cases and deaths per capita have been equal to or lower than states that have been locked down.) So basically, Floridians are on the hook to pay for California’s failed policy decisions.

But even with high unemployment, state revenues across the country have been increasing and therefore this transfer of dollars to states is unnecessary. Much of the bailouts will NOT be needed for coronavirus relief, but to help pay for budget deficits fueled by years of mismanaged pension systems.

Direct Payments

The package includes direct payments of $1,400 for individuals earning up to $75,000 per year and couples earning up to $150,000 per year. Payments phase out for those making over $80,000 per year or couples earning more than $160,000. Based on U.S. population, the $1.9 trillion equates to roughly $5,700 per person. So the cost of the “relief” is $5,700 per person in exchange for $1,400 direct assistance to a portion of the population.

Sen. Cassidy offered an amendment that would have prevented those incarcerated in a federal or state prison from receiving a stimulus check, but it was voted down 49-50. This is a perfect example of non-targeted, inappropriate, and total waste of spending on a bill intended to stimulate the economy.

Dems Agree to Provide ‘COVID Relief’ Checks to Prisoners and Illegal Aliens by Beth Baumann (townhall.com)

Miscellaneous Pork

  • $20 million to update Obamacare exchange technology
  • $50 million for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • $100 million for air quality and pollution mitigation efforts by the EPA
  • $175 million for public broadcasting
  • $200 million for libraries through the Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • $200 million for “worker protection enforcement activities” through the Department of Labor
  • $270 million for National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities
  • $1.5 billion for Amtrak
  • $12 billion in foreign aid
  • $15 billion illegal immigrant-eligible health care
  • $30 billion for transit agencies ($112 million for Speaker Pelosi’s Bay Area Rapid Transit)
  • $34 billion for increased Obamacare subsidies (The legislation would eliminate an income cap that limits who is eligible for ACA tax credits to reduce premiums, expanding the exchange by 1.7 million people in 2022. This marks the first major expansion of the 2010 ACA and is highly inappropriate to include in an emergency relief package.)
  • $86 billion for multi-employer pension plans

Of the dollars that are actually dedicated to relief, more than one-third of the money will not be spent this year. Roughly $700 billion is allocated to be spent between 2022 and 2031, including 95% of the school reopening money. (Sen. Rubio attempted to include an amendment that would require schools receiving reopening money to actually reopen. It was voted down 48-51.)

This bill is a Democrat progressive wish list that we will be paying for over decades. A laundry list of left-wing priorities that predate the pandemic and reveals the big government philosophy of the Democratic party.

Truth can be painful and frustrating. But we do not want to be deceived with false information. To avoid deception, we have to always be on guard, stay immersed in the Word, walk in all the light God gives us, guard our hearts and stay in fellowship with Jesus and others at all times.

Deception has infiltrated every part of our culture. Our media has abandoned its role as watchdog and become a platform for state-approved talking points. But there is great hope. God can give us peace in the midst of every storm.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“Take heed that no man deceives you.” Matthew 24:4We must remember to “be wise as serpents, but harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16

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