Democrats are now admitting what the country has known all along. The legislation they are ramming through the House and Senate – without any input from Republicans – is not a COVID relief bill but is instead a far-left wishlist that amounts to the most progressive legislation that Congress has ever passed.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said the bill is, “the most progressive domestic legislation in a generation.” Then, after the Senate passed the legislation on Saturday on a party-line vote, Senator Schumer echoed those calls by saying that it is, “one of the most progressive pieces of legislation — if not the most progressive — in decades.”
That is the truth. As Republicans have stressed, just 9% of the legislation actually focuses on COVID health. The other 91% of the bill has to do with fulfilling Democrats’ political priorities.
That includes billions in bailouts to state and local governments, even though reports show that state revenue is relatively stable compared to last year. It also spends billions on education, but 95% of that money cannot be spent until after 2021 and there’s still billions in unspent money from previous packages that could be used to reopen schools now. The bill does not include Hyde Amendment protections and funds Planned Parenthood, provides stimulus checks for prisoners and illegal immigrants, has an $86 billion unrelated pension bailout, and more.
- The Daily Wire: “Democrats Reject Republican Attempts To Prevent Stimulus Checks From Going To Prisoners, Illegal Aliens”
- National Review: “The House COVID-Relief Bill Funds Abortion and Planned Parenthood”
Even liberal economists have cautioned that this bill is dangerous and could create serious economic ramifications. Former Obama officials Larry Summersand Steve Rattner have both explained why the package is so unnecessarily large that it may lead to inflation, and Washington Post economist Steven Pearlstein wrote in his final column that the effects of the bill will trigger a “run on the dollar” and “even a modest run-up in interest rates.” Even Chris Wallace cited the fact that the bill is triple the size of what the CBO’s has reported is needed to make up for the economic output lost because of the pandemic, and The Washington Post editorial board detailed how it will “shower money on those who don’t need it.”
- The Washington Post: “As Senate rushes $1.9 trillion bill through Congress, Biden faces doubts over whether it’s still the right package”
Last year, Congress came together to pass five bills that were drafted in a bipartisan manner to provide $4 trillion in COVID relief. Instead of following this proven approach, Democrats wrote and advanced this bill entirely on their own, deciding to devote the vast majority of resources in the legislation to their political priorities. Speaking on the Senate floor before the bill passed on Saturday, Senator Mitch McConnell outlined why Democrats’ decision to go down this path represents a “colossal missed opportunity for our nation.”:
LEADER McCONNELL: “The Senate has never spent $2 trillion in a more haphazard or less rigorous way. Voters handed Senate Democrats the slimmest possible majority, shrunk the House Democrats’ majority, and picked a president who promised unity and bipartisanship. Democrats have responded by ramming through what they call ‘the most progressive domestic legislation in a generation’ on razor-thin and purely partisan majorities in both chambers.
“The right path was obvious. We followed it five times last year. In 2020 we passed five historic pandemic rescue packages totaling $4 trillion. Not one of them got fewer than 90 votes in the Senate or about 80% of the House. Last March, I convened the bipartisan task forces that wrote the historic CARES Act. Republicans and Democrats worked shoulder to shoulder.
“That was the road to real pandemic relief. But this time, Democrats wanted something else. They explained their intent very clearly: to exploit this crisis as ‘a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.’
“That’s how we ended up with this massive bill that only directs 1% to vaccinations, ignores the science on reopening schools, and is stuffed with non-COVID-related spending that even top liberal economists say is wrong for this recovery. That’s why the only bipartisan feature of this bill is the group of Senators and Representatives who voted against it.
“Democrats inherited a tide that is already turning. 2021 was already poised to be our comeback year, thanks to the American people’s resilience and the bipartisan foundation we’d laid.
“We could have worked together to speed up victory. But Democrats decided their top priority wasn’t pandemic relief. It was their Washington wish-list. It was jamming through unrelated policy changes they couldn’t pass honestly.
“A colossal missed opportunity for our nation.”
Ahead of the House vote tomorrow, Republicans have been clear that this is the wrong bill at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. The President and Speaker Pelosi are breaking the promises they made to the nation and abdicating their obligation to govern responsibly by advancing legislation that puts their disastrous policy agenda before the best interests of the country.