What’s Hidden in Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill: GOP Study Committee
BY LI HAI February 23, 2021 Updated: February 24, 2021 for The Epoch Times
The Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest conservative caucus on Capitol Hill, has released a fact-sheet exposing what “Democrats are hoping the public won’t find about” in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), RSC’s newly elected chairman, said in a memo sent to caucus members that Democrats have included items of “special interest pork and other liberal goodies” in the proposal.
Democrats on Feb. 19 unveiled the full text of the 591-page bill (pdf), titled the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.”
“Keep in mind only 1 percent of this $1.9 trillion will go toward vaccines, and only 5 percent overall of this entire package is geared toward public health efforts directly related to the pandemic,” Banks said in an interview with Fox News.
Banks said Biden’s bill is a “bailout full of kickbacks to Democrats special interest groups that gave them power,” such as $10 million to every labor union, bailouts to Planned Parenthood, and stimulus grants to illegal-immigrant families.
“If that’s not bad enough, Nancy Pelosi plugged in a $200 million earmark for an underground tunnel in San Francisco for Silicon Valley employees,” Banks said. “This is a bailout to the special interest groups that gave them power.”
The fact sheet (pdf) points out that the $50 million for EPA environmental-justice grants is a “thinly-veiled kickback to leftist environmental groups.”
Under the category of the “left’s social justice agenda,” billions are given in loan forgiveness and subsidies to “farmers and ranchers on the basis of race and ethnicity,” the RSC fact sheet claims. The RSC also identified $600 million for additional paid leave for federal employees and postal workers.
The panel also claims that Biden’s bill is keeping schools closed.
It pointed out that the bill provides $130 billion on top of the $110 billion already given to schools, even if they remain closed. Plus, the bill gives labor unions—including those teachers’ unions fighting against school reopening—access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding worth up to $10 million per union.
The RSC went on to assert that a provision in the plan that would boost the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour is “job-killing,” and 1.4 million jobs will be lost, with younger Americans who have less formal education being hit the hardest.
The RSC also said providing a weekly $400 bonus for up to nearly a year and a half would effectively give 53 percent of Americans a raise for being unemployed; it won’t encourage people to go back to work.
Meanwhile, promised $1,400 stimulus checks would go to some couples with up to $200,000 in annual income.
Budget-busting spending is another reason why the caucus is critical of the legislation. The RSC said that more than $1 trillion from previous stimulus packages remains unspent while Democrats push Biden’s $1.9 trillion budget-buster.
It also pointed out that in Biden’s bill, $350 billion will be spent as a bailout for state and local governments, $30 billion will go to transit giants, $8 billion to largely urban airports, $150 billion to the Coronavirus Relief Fund for state and local governments to cover pandemic-related expenses, among others.
The bill also is soft on China, the RSC claims.
For example, it allows funding to go to colleges and universities that have partnerships with Confucius Institutes—a propaganda tool embedded in U.S. academic institutions—and allows funding to colleges that have partnerships with companies owned or controlled by communist China.
The House Budget Committee voted Feb. 22 to advance the American Rescue Plan to a full House vote expected later this week.
House Republican leadership has recommended a “no” vote for the $1.9 trillion relief bill.
“Republicans insist that we must safely reopen schools, reopen the economy, speed up vaccine distribution, and effectively spend the remaining $1 trillion from previous COVID packages,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in an email to his caucus on Feb. 19. “However, Democrats rejected hundreds of Republican amendments and any efforts to advance bipartisan solutions that are targeted, temporary, and tied to COVID relief.”
Biden said that the legislation needs to pass.
“We need Congress to pass my American Rescue Plan. It deals with the immediate crisis facing our small businesses,” Biden said when he announced changes to the PPP funding on Feb. 22. “Now, critics say the plan is too big. Let me ask them a rhetorical question: What would you have me cut? What would you leave out?
“In fact, an analysis by Wall Street’s firm, Moody’s, estimates that if we pass my American Rescue Plan, the economy will create 7 million jobs this year.”
Biden indicated earlier this month that his proposal would pass even without Republicans’ support.
Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.
Jerry McGuire and the $1.9 Trillion Rip-Off
By Newt Gingrich for The Epoch Times
This isn’t surprising. The Democrats have mastered the art of using morally positive language to describe the indefensible. In a real sense, they have captured the warning in George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.” Orwell observed that the more destructive, dishonest, and indefensible a policy is, the more likely it is to be described in language that obscures and hides its purpose.
The current critique of the bill emphasizes that it is pitched as COVID-19 relief legislation, but most of it has nothing to do with COVID-19 relief. Critics also note that there are already billions unspent from the previous COVID-19 relief bills. Finally, they point out that much of the bill will not go into effect until 2022.
If you understand the true purpose of this bill—to funnel your tax dollars to Democrat-allied states and institutions—you will marvel at the intelligence, the chutzpah of the Democratic leaders. They have played an adroit linguistic shell game with the American people (which their media allies are cheerfully assisting).
The words “COVID-19 relief” are propaganda to justify an unjustifiable bill. Think of “COVID-19 Relief” as the engine pulling a huge train of expensive goodies for Democratic allies. It’s language used to hide hundreds of billions in pure pork payoff.
A famous scene from the film “Jerry McGuire” is illustrative of the current situation. Cuba Gooding Jr. (as a football star) trains Tom Cruise (his sports agent) to chant “show me the money.” This scene provides a much better understanding of the Democrats’ desperation to pass this massive spending bill.
What they really want is to answer their allies’ calls of “show me the money.”
The Democrats are the party of big government, big bureaucracies, big public employee unions, and radical left-wing activists. This $1.9 trillion bill is designed to appease and feed virtually every element of this coalition. The Democrats are artfully using the American people’s money to grow their machine and strengthen their coalition.
Teachers’ unions are rewarded for a year of horrible behavior—in which they have ignored the advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to sacrifice the futures of young Americans on the altar of narcissistic self-indulgence. They like collecting a paycheck for not going to work. The Biden-Pelosi-Schumer team is so indebted to them that paying them off with tens of billions in taxpayer dollars is an imperative.
In the Democrat-run world, the unions’ political power makes educational failure irrelevant.
Similarly, the Democrats must protect badly run states with terrible pandemic shutdown policies. They must overlook the destruction of small businesses and higher unemployment in these states. They must use your money to cover pension plans ruined by state-level Democrats who bought current votes by promising future benefits they can’t finance. And national Democrats must support bureaucracies so incompetent that $63 billion to $200 billion in fraudulent unemployment insurance cases have been paid throughout the pandemic ($32 billion in California alone).
As pure political combat, this is a brilliant strategy: Punish Republican-run states (which have lower unemployment, more balanced budgets, and prudent pensions) and take or transfer their money to the unbelievably destructive, oppressive, and incompetent Democrat-run states.
When you combine the impact of this transfer of resources with an anti-energy policy, which will hit Republican states much harder than Democratic states, you have a formula for strengthening the Democrats while undermining the Republicans—with just a few bills.
This use of taxpayer money to strengthen the Democratic machine explains the resumption of earmarks for specific projects. A legislative body is much easier to manage if you can reward and punish individual members.
It would be interesting in this context to learn who put the $100 million grant for an underground train in Silicon Valley into the bill. Clearly, the extraordinarily rich internet capital of the world could build its own transit system. The major companies—Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, etc.—have more than enough cash in their reserves that they could build the railway if they wanted to. However, some politician wanted to be able to claim credit for “delivering” money from Washington. Again, this is a case of “show me the money.”
I anticipate the Biden administration will consistently follow the “show me the money” model.
Expect a lot more hidden pork—and a lot more hypocritical moralizing—as the Democrats desperately seek to use your tax money to prop up and grow their political influence.
Newt Gingrich, a Republican, served as House speaker from 1995 to 1999 and ran as a presidential candidate in 2012. To read, hear, and watch more of Newt’s commentary, visit Gingrich360.com.