President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief bill, which could cost American taxpayers as much as $2 trillion, is full of handouts for pet leftist causes, the Republican Study Committee said in a memo to House GOP members on Monday, including a $1 billion grant designed to combat historic and systemic racism in agriculture.
The memo outlines dozens of “liberal goodies” hidden in the bill, according to Fox News, which obtained a copy.
“Among the provisions raising eyebrows among the conservatives are $1,400 stimulus checks going to mixed-status families with undocumented immigrants; allowing Planned Parenthood to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds designed to keep small businesses afloat; and nearly $600 million for additional emergency paid family leave for federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers, according to the RSC memo,” the outlet reports.
The bill is slated to go to the House budget committee on Monday, and both House Democrats and President Biden hope the relief legislation passes through quickly, given that Democrats have a sizeable majority in the House. The Senate will be trickier; in order to pass the bill with the Democrats’ slim majority — just one vote, belonging to tie-breaker Vice President Kamala Harris — Democrats are likely to use “reconciliation,” a procedural shortcut that allows Congress to approve a “budget-related” bill with 51 votes.
Among the more controversial items, though, is the $1 billion handout to “socially disadvantaged” farmers, defined, Fox News reports, as those farmers “who are part of a group that has been discriminated against because of their race or ethnicity.”
The plan allows minority farmers to apply for direct relief payments “equal to 120 percent of the outstanding indebtedness of each socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher as of January 1, 2021, to pay off the loan directly or to the socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.”
Not all of the money would flow directly to minority farmers. The bill does create a grant system, but also funds “agricultural legal centers” and other social justice organizations.
Democrats have routinely suggested that the $1.8 trillion in emergency coronavirus relief funding is “necessary to reopen schools, deliver a financial lifeline to struggling families, speed up the health care response, help state, and local governments and assist small businesses.”
Republicans, however, are concerned that the COVID-19 bill has little to do with public health.
“Only a small percent of President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package would actually go to pandemic-related efforts,” The Daily Wire reported over the weekend. “A full 15%, about $300 billion, is earmarked for liberal policy priorities that have nothing to do with the pandemic, such as expanding Obamacare subsidies and increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour (four years from now).”
Just 1% of the package will be spent on vaccines, The Daily Wire’s Ashe Schow noted. Around 5% will go to “pandemic-related public health needs.”
In some cases, the money is doled out in such a way that it will have little impact on immediate needs. Just a fraction of the money intended for schools, the Congressional Budget Office said in a study last week, will flow to schools within the next year, despite the Biden administration’s demands for extra funding for education so that students can return to classrooms.
“[A]cording to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), tying in-person learning to infrastructure and safety spending could leave kids out of classrooms until 2023, as only a fraction of existing coronavirus relief funds for schools is slated to be spent in 2021,” The Daily Wire reported last week.
Where that money does go immediately to districts, it does not go to anti-coronavirus safety measures. “President Biden’s relief bill currently includes $130 billion for public K-12 schools. The biggest chunk of the spending would go to districts to avoid layoffs and hire more personnel,” according to National Public Radio.
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