House Democrats blocked an attempt by Republicans on Friday night to move more than $100 million away from a Silicon Valley underground rail system and redirect the money to helping children that have developed mental health problems as a result of not being able to attend school during the pandemic.
“Calling it the ‘Pelosi payoff,’ Republicans offered a motion to recommit the bill back to the Budget Committee to consider an amendment from freshman Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa,” Roll Call reported. “The amendment would shift the $140 million for the San Francisco transit project to mental health services for children who can’t attend in-person school.”
Roll Call noted that Democrats blocked the motion to recommit in a 205-218, party-line vote, with two Democrats and six Republicans absent. Numerous reports have pointed to schools being shut down and other pandemic-related stresses having a serious impact on the mental health of America’s youth.
Fox Business reported that approximately $112 million in the stimulus bill would be sent to fund phase two of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) expansion, which “would use one of the largest boring machines ever built to drill a tunnel for rail transit underneath San Jose, California.”
“The project was estimated to cost $4.69 billion in 2018,” the report said. “But estimates have already skyrocketed to $6.9 billion. It’s currently scheduled to be complete in approximately 2030.”
Hinson offered the motion to recommit late last night on the House floor, saying, “Americans are crying out tonight for targeted relief and instead this bill sends money straight to Speaker Pelosi’s pet project in California, the Bay Area Rapid Transit Silicon Valley phase two.”
“How insulting to the frontline workers who still have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, to the mom trying to pay rent while her small business is in danger, and what about the ER doctors and nurses treating kids rushed in for mental health crisis?” she continued. “This is Washington pork spending at its worst, the kind the speaker puts in for herself. My amendment tonight would take away the speaker’s $140 million subway carve out and instead redirect that money to a truly essential cause, supporting mental health programs for students. We’ve seen increasing rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges among our kids who have been trapped behind screens for a year now.”
“If we adopt the motion to recommit, tonight, we will instruct the budget committee to reconsider my amendment, which would put students over subways and reject this $140-million-speaker-set-aside in favor of getting kids the mental health help they need right now, before it’s too late,” she concluded. “I ask unanimous consent to insert the text of my amendment in the record immediately prior to the vote on the motion to recommit.”
WATCH:@RepAshleyHinson's amendment "would put students over subways" by redirecting $140 million from Speaker Pelosi's Silicon Valley subway to kids getting the mental health help they need now. pic.twitter.com/cZpZ02KYCZ
— Mark Bednar (@MarkBednar) February 27, 2021
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) immediately responded to Democrats blocking the motion to recommit last night by noting that they “blocked $140 million in grants for mental health services for kids.”
“Know where they decided to spend that taxpayer money instead?” McCarthy continued. “Pelosi’s tunnel.”
🚨BREAKING🚨 Democrats just blocked $140 million in grants for mental health services for kids.
Know where they decided to spend that taxpayer money instead? Pelosi’s tunnel.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) February 27, 2021
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