Is anyone shocked the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 bill has little to do with the virus? These bills allow lawmakers to shove in pet projects and pork.

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest Republican caucus in the House, wrote a playbook that outlines the hidden factors to inform the voters.

The COVID bill hands out:

  • $75 billion for medical supplies, testing, treatments, and vaccinations
  • $19 billion for public health: state health departments and community health centers
  • $7.2 billion for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
  • $15 billion for economic injury disaster loans
  • $26 billion to bars, live venues, and restaurants
  • $15 billion airlines payroll support

The bill also raises unemployment to $400 a week. This rewards 53% of Americans “for being unemployed” and can last for a year and a half.

The CBO predicts the unemployment changes could “increase deficits by $246 billion.” Plus, people staying unemployed for almost 16 months “could increase the unemployment rate as well as decrease labor force participation.”

Then there’s the $413 billion in relief checks. Democrats want to send “$1,400 per man, woman and dependent, that begins phasing out at $75,000 of individual income.”

So that’s $825 billion. Where’s the rest of the $1 trillion?

“Democrats have been hoping the public’s attention has been occupied watching a mad for TV show trial of the former president in the Senate because they’ve been trying to quietly load up a $1.9 trillion budget reconciliation bill with special interest pork and other liberal goodies,” wrote RSC Chairman Jim Banks (R-IN).

Banks encourages RSC members to circulate this playbook.

Jobs are the top issue, significantly raising the minimum wage to $15. The RSC described it as a job killer, hitting “younger Americans with less formal education” the hardest.  The Congressional Budget Office [CBO] estimates it could eliminate 1.4 million jobs.

The Democrats decided abortion, immigration, and China belonged in a bill meant to aid Americans:

• Democrats blocked an amendment with Hyde language that would ensure that federal benefits used to pay for COBRA health insurance premiums are not used to provide abortion services.
• Maintains ability for Planned Parenthood to receive PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] funds.

Promotes Illegal Immigration
• Stimulus checks could go to families where a parent is an illegal immigrant.
• Allows subsidies paying for 85 percent of COBRA premiums to go to illegal immigrants.

Soft on China
• Allows funding to go to colleges that have partnerships with companies that are owned or controlled by communist China. Democrats rejected a GOP amendment to fix this.
• Allows funding to go to colleges and universities that have partnerships with Confucius Institutes.

The PPP mentioned above “provides loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the” COVID-19 pandemic. It also allows eligibility to some borrowers “for PPP loan forgiveness.”

Schools remaining closed has become a hot topic issue. President Joe Biden promised to open schools within his first 100 days. However, the bill gives schools incentive to remain closed because the government will provide them with “$130 billion on top of the $110 billion already given to schools, even if they remain closed.”

That PPP I talked about? Labor unions, including teachers, now have access to “funding worth up to $10 million per union.

The bill expands the PPP to cover “violent criminals, including those guilty of assault on a police officer and nonconsensual sexual crimes.”

Thus, the new guidelines for PPP push aside the small businesses that need funding. It also includes large nonprofits, “country clubs, fraternities and sororities and publicly-traded internet news organizations.”

You cannot have a Democrat bill without social justice (This section includes the PPP for violent criminals I already mentioned):

Left’s Social Justice Agenda
• Provides $50 million in funding for EPA environmental justice grants, a thinly-veiled kickback to leftist environmental groups.
• Extends PPP funds to violent criminals, including those guilty of assault on a police officer and nonconsensual sexual crimes.
• Expands Medicaid eligibility, for five years, to incarcerated individuals 30 days prior to their release.
• Prioritizes funding based on identity politics while ignoring rural businesses and communities.
• Gives billions in subsidies and loan forgiveness worth 120% of debt to farmers and ranchers on the basis of race and ethnicity.
• Gives $800 million in additional foreign food aid.

Let’s look at more useless items:

Budget-busting Spending
• Over $1 trillion remains unspent while Democrats push Biden’s $1.9 trillion budget-buster.
• Provides an additional $1.5 billion to Amtrak, which is already sitting on roughly $1 billion of unspent aid.
• Provides $30 Billion for transit grants, available through FY 2024, of which $26 billion (87%) would go to urban area transit entities. This almost three times the total annual outlays through the FTA.
• $8 billion in operating expense, debt payments, and development projects aid to largely urban airports, available through FY 2024.
• Provides a $350 billion bailout for state and local governments despite limited declines in overall revenue last year. Such funding effectively subsidizes unwarranted shutdowns that kills businesses and livelihoods.
• $3 billion in aid to supplement payroll costs for certain U.S. aircraft manufacturers.
• Democrats on the Education & Labor committee blocked an amendment that would have required agency Inspector Generals to audit and report on the use of COVID-19 funds.
• Congress provided $150 billion to the Coronavirus Relief Fund for state and local governments to cover pandemic-related expenses. It is unclear how much of the funds have been spent so far and whether the funds used met the letter of the law.

A Wall Street Journal editorial piece mentioned Sen. Chuck Schumer slipped in “$1.5 million for the Seaway International Bridge, which connects New York to Canada.” The spending includes $500 million for “grants to fund activities related to the arts, humanities, libraries and museums, and Native American language preservation.”

Last but not least, we have a welfare wishlist. This section includes more subsidies for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (IHEAP), steps closer to taking over the medical community, and more paid leave for federal employees:

Liberal Welfare Wishlist
• Incentivizes harmful Medicaid expansion by increasing newly expanded state’s base FMAP by five percentage points for two years. Not only does this hurt state budgets, it also brings our nation one step closer to a complete federal takeover of our health care sector.
• Increase the size of Obamacare premium tax credits for existing beneficiaries.
• Effectively place an excise tax on everyday Americans’ pharmaceutical purchases by removing the Medicaid AMP rebate cap, which could create instances where drug manufacturers are paying Medicaid to supply drugs.
• Expands Medicaid eligibility, for five years, to incarcerated individuals 30 days prior to their release and to women for 12 months postpartum, an unrelated provision that should be considered on its own merits.
• Provides additional subsidies for LIHEAP ($4.5 billion), a program ripe with fraud, waste, and abuse, that President Trump even sought to eliminate.
• Extends 15 percent increase in SNAP funding through the rest of FY 2021.
• Provides nearly $600 million for additional paid leave for federal employees and postal workers.
• Would increase the Child Tax Credit (CTC) by $1,000 per child over 5 and $1,600 per child under 6. For 2021, the credit would be fully refundable. Would double the maximum EITC benefit to workers with no dependents.
• Would increase, by 20%, the maximum amount of federally subsidized wages for paid leave. Would allow self-employed people to claim up to 60 days annually worth of federally subsidized paid leave.
• Removes state matching requirement for the Child Care Entitlement to States (CCES) grant program, along with an almost 20% increase in funding for this program.
• Would, effectively, implement the Democratic Butch Lewis taxpayer bailout of pensions plan.

Relief Package by J.B.


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