The House’s biggest conservative caucus has released a blueprint for opposing a Democrat-led $1.9 trillion COVID bill that contains money for liberal causes as well as big payouts to leftist states with large budget gaps that existed before the pandemic.
According to Fox News, a three-page memo to be distributed Monday by the Republican Study Committee to its conservative caucus details “all the left-wing items Democrats are hoping the public won’t found out about.”
The memo highlights several provisions in the COVID bill many Americans would find objectionable, such as providing $1,400 stimulus checks to some families with illegal immigrants; giving Paycheck Protection Program funds to Planned Parenthood (which received more than $614 million in taxpayer funds in 2019); and almost $600 million in emergency paid family leave for U.S. Postal Service workers and other federal employees.
In addition, the memo casts light on a provision calling for race-based loan forgiveness and subsidies to farmers and ranchers; giving COVID-19 funds to universities that have ties and partnerships with Chinese government-controlled firms and Confucius Institutes; and $50 million slated for so-called ‘environmental justice programs” the study group railed as “a thinly-veiled kickback to leftist environmental groups.”
The study group also raised the issue of giving PPP funds to business owners who may have felony records to include “violent criminals,” as well as providing Medicaid eligibility for inmates beginning 30 days ahead of their release.
The study commission’s leader, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), noted that taxpayers should be told what the massive bill contains.
“The RSC is leading conservatives inside and outside the Beltway in opposition to this so-called ‘relief package.’ The more we learn about it, the worse it sounds,” he told Fox News. “That’s why we’ve put together a fact sheet to educate Americans exactly how their taxpayer dollars are being spent by Democrats.”
On Monday, the House Budget Committee is scheduled to take up the legislation. The full House may vote on the package by week’s end.
House Minority Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana has already instructed the GOP caucus to vote “no” on the legislation, which he had called the “Pelosi’s Payoff to Progressives Act.”
The 591-page legislation was released on Friday. In addition to providing some $130 billion to schools, ostensibly so they can reopen amid the pandemic, it also provides $350 billion in financial aid to many Democrat-run states and local governments that had existing budget problems prior to COVID-19.
Also, the bill calls for a gradual raising of the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour, which Republicans and the Congressional Budget Office have said will cost the economy jobs over the next few years.
Democrats and the Biden administration have defended the massive bill, saying more money is needed in order to help struggling American families and the country in its recovery.
“We are in a race against time, and aggressive, bold action is needed before our nation is permanently scarred by the human and economic costs of inaction,” House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said.