$1.9tn Stimulus Package little for Pandemic related Recovery

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This legislation is supposed to be about ending the pandemic, reviving the economy, and providing Americans the financial relief they need to make it through this tough stretch. It is disappointing to see House committees straying from that mission. It’s time to refocus.

The goal of COVID relief is to end the pandemic, protect incomes, and support the economic recovery. The House bill not only spends far more than is needed to achieve these goals, but also puts too many of these plentiful dollars in the wrong places.

Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Only about 1 percent of the entire package goes toward COVID vaccines, and 5 percent is truly focused on public health needs surrounding the pandemic. Meanwhile, nearly half of the package will be spent on poorly targeted rebate checks and state and local government aid, including to households and governments that have experienced little or no financial loss during this crisis.

More than 15 percent of the package – about $300 billion – is spent on long-standing policy priorities that are not directly related to the current crisis. Much of these policies do not belong in a COVID relief package.

Senate Republicans slammed what they call House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “Subway to Nowhere” — a $100 million allocation for a Silicon Valley underground rail project. The funds would go to phase two of the Bay Area Transit Authority expansion project underneath San Jose.

Republicans also slammed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s “Bridge to Nowhere,” which allocated $1.5 million from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for operations, maintenance and capital infrastructure activities of the Seaway International Bridge in New York.

The COVID-19 relief package also includes billions of dollars to support climate change, $86 billion for union pensions, a $350 billion bailout for states — which Republicans say is not a responsibility of taxpayers across the country — $180 million to change the definition of an “at-risk school child,” which Republicans say includes individuals up to 24 years of age “for purposes of emergency meal reimbursements under the Child and Adult Care Food Program.”

Republicans also slammed the bill’s “new taxpayer-funded executive branch employee emergency leave program,” which allows “nearly seven times the current 80 hours of emergency leave with 600 hours of additional emergency leave with no requirement that it be due to COVID-19, and no oversight or justification needed” through the end of fiscal year 2021.

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