Louisiana lawmaker Sen. John Kennedy recently criticized the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion relief package on “Fox News” as a ‘Neo-socialist wish list’ and not a coronavirus bill. He blasted President Biden for approaching the bill with the objective to spend money on leftist pet projects, instead of helping get Americans back to work.
“President Biden said in putting together the bill, he said we want to meet you, us, the Republicans, halfway. If that’s the case he’s a damn poor judge of distance. He’s rejected everything we’ve proposed. This bill is dreadful,” Sen. Kennedy said.
A large portion of the funding wouldn’t be spent until 2022 and beyond, including funding for transit projects, language preservation, and billions of dollars for people who have entered the country illegally. Democrats also plan to introduce a $3 trillion green energy bill after passing the relief package.
The bill includes $70 billion for K-12 school funding, $1,400 stimulus checks going to mixed-status families, and nearly $600 million for additional emergency paid family leave for federal employees and U.S Postal Service workers. The bill would also expand unemployment insurance to include workers who didn’t qualify before the pandemic, as well as increasing payments to $400 per week that would extend through Aug. 29.
During a Forbes audit of the bill, they found $1.5 million for the Seaway International Bridge, which connects Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s home of New York to Canada, as well as $140 million allocated for a rail project near House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home district in San Francisco.
The funding for Pelosi and Schumer’s projects was removed Tuesday after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that it was a policy “unrelated” to items in budget reconciliation bills. They also previously blocked Democrats from including a federal minimum wage hike to $15/hr in the bill. Republicans singled out the rail project as another example of unrelated “pork” in the bill.
Other earmarked spending includes $470 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment of the Arts and the Humanities, $852 million for civic volunteer organizations AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Vista, and the National Senior Service Corps, $85 billion for pension plans, $39.6 billion for colleges and universities, as well as $1.4 billion for Amtrak.
The bill was criticized for a third of its funds not being used until 2024 and the inclusion of these unnecessary expenses, but is expected to be passed in the Senate by March 14.
“The only way I know how to improve it is with a shredder. It’s not even a coronavirus bill. Calling this a coronavirus bill is like calling Harvey Weinstein a feminist. It’s chock-full of spending porn, billions of dollars to states and local governments that have seen their revenues go up. Billions of dollars to pension programs, billions of dollars to schools with no requirement that they open,” Kennedy said.
This is not a stimulus check bill, but a thank you to the Democrats for buying everyone’s vote.