While unveiling President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, Democrats have added dozens of items unrelated to direct pandemic relief. The bill would increase the federal minimum wage to $15, allocate $300 million to animal COVID-19 studies, address socially disadvantaged farmers, and fund numerous social projects. Talk about a bloated progressive wish list.
The full 591-page bill, put together by the House Budget Committee, would carry out President Biden’s proposals to provide funds for COVID-19 vaccines medical supplies, stimulating the country’s economy, and offer direct payments to households, extended federal unemployment benefits, and aid to state and local governments. But the $1.9 trillion figure has less to do with economics and more to do with political narrative.
President Biden told critics after touring a Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant that he would be ‘open to’ how to make the package better and cheaper, but still defended the need to ‘act big and quickly.’ Without the need to convince any Republicans, Democrats have used the COVID-19 proposal as an opportunity to quickly fund dozens of pet projects.
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Then-President Lyndon B Johnson’s Great Society projects, the National Endowment for the Arts, is set to receive $135 million, along with an additional $135 million to the National Endowment of the Humanities. The National Endowment of Arts not only divided the political world, but the art world.
A child care program, Head Start, would also receive $1 billion in funding, even though the Department of Health and Human Services reported back in 2005, 2010, and 2012, that it had negligible improvements to a child’s cognitive ability.
The bill also provides an additional $200 million to the Institute of Museum and Library Services and $10 million for the “preservation and maintenance” of Native American languages.
Former White House economic advisor Lawrence H. Summers warned Democrats that paying the high price on a bill for a short-term political victory does nothing for the future. “There is nothing wrong w targeting $1.9 T. I could support a larger figure in total stimulus. But a substantial part of program should be directed at promoting sustainable & inclusive economic growth for the decade and beyond, not simply supporting incomes this year & next,” he tweeted.
House Democrats are preparing to vote on the massive package under budget reconciliation, a process that would not require any GOP votes if their caucus stays united.
While Biden might call it “his plan,” let’s not forget that it was presented on the House floor before he was even elected. It was presented before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted to holding up relief because of the election. The plan has always been about getting money where they want, which is back in their own pockets. Now, they have the ‘right guy’ in office to let them do that.