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Less than 48 hours after the Democrat-led House passed a bill that would force transgender ideology on the entire public, the House also passed an ostensible $1.9 trillion “coronavirus relief” bill that would spike the minimum wage to $15/hour.
Reportedly passed around 2:00 am Saturday morning, the bill earned the votes of zero Republicans and only 219 out of 221 Democrats, with Reps. Jared Golden and Kurt Schrader siding with their GOP colleagues on this matter, Fox News reported.
In a statement, Golden attributed his opposition to the same complaint raised by Republicans — namely, that the bill spends more money on “unnecessary” interests than on actually providing relief to the American people.
“During challenging times, the country needs its elected leaders to work together to meet the most urgent needs in their communities. This bill addresses urgent needs, and then buries them under a mountain of unnecessary or untimely spending,” he said.
My statement on this morning’s vote: https://t.co/sIcC10mvtJ
— Congressman Jared Golden (@RepGolden) February 27, 2021
In a speech delivered on the House floor a few short hours before the final vote, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, expressed the same sentiment, albeit in starker terms.
“We ran the numbers — the amount of money that actually goes to defeating the virus is less than 9 percent. Less than 9 percent! So don’t call it a rescue bill. Don’t call it a relief bill. Call it the Pelosi Payoff,” he said.
This appears to be true. Around nine percent of the spending is geared toward actually combating the spread of the coronavirus through vaccinations, testing and tracking.
However, the bill does set aside $825 billion for direct relief to Americans via business loans and stimulus payments. Still, that leaves over $1 trillion for other causes, and therein lies the rub.
“This bill calls for states and local governments to receive $350 billion dollars. … [E]lite institutions — Harvard and others — this bill calls for them to receive hundreds of millions of dollars. But Harvard already has a $40 billion endowment,” McCarthy noted.
“Check the fine print. On page 97, it hands out health care subsidies to illegal immigrants. On page 347, it fast-tracks $1.5 billion to Amtrak, which hasn’t even spent the $1 billion from the last package. … And on pages 358, it funnels $140 million for a subway tunnel near Speaker Pelosi’s district.”
Listen to his entire speech below:
A number of other prominent Republicans also spoke out against the bill, with one, Rep. Carol Miller, accusing it of being loaded with “manure” and “bull.”
I raise bison. I know bull when I see it, and I know manure when I see it.
— Rep. Carol Miller (@RepCarolMiller) February 27, 2021
Let’s be clear about what’s happening:
Every single COVID relief bill has been bipartisan.
Until Biden took office.
Now Dems are ramming through a completely partisan bill loaded up with nearly $2 trillion of swampy liberal wish list items.
This isn’t what Americans want. pic.twitter.com/rD0oIjT2eg
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) February 27, 2021
Today I spoke on the House floor in opposition to H.R. 1319, Pelosi’s Payoff to Progressives Act. This $1.9 trillion package devotes only 9% toward actual COVID relief while advancing a number of unrelated Democrat priorities. pic.twitter.com/k1fozFEPZK
— Rick W. Allen (@RepRickAllen) February 26, 2021
I’ve said it over and over again – COVID relief must be timely and targeted. This bill is neither. Furthermore, it does not meet the simple goals of crushing the virus and putting Americans back to work. We can’t afford to waste your tax dollars on bills like this. pic.twitter.com/ox9v10z3aU
— Kevin Hern (@repkevinhern) February 26, 2021
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board has similarly described the bill as mainly “a combination of bailouts for Democratic constituencies, expansions of progressive programs, pork, and unrelated policy changes.”
Conversely, Democrats like Rep. Maxine Waters expressed joy at the bill’s passage.
“I am a happy camper tonight. This is what America needs. Republicans, you ought to be a part of this – if you are not, we are going without you,” she boastfully said in her own floor speech.
The most controversial aspect of the bill is a $15 minimum wage hike that’s expected to cost upwards of 1.4 million jobs, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. Despite this fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vociferously defended the measure during her own speech on the House floor.
“An increase in the minimum wage is a financial necessity for our families, a great stimulus for our economy and a moral imperative for our country. With that view, it is therefore inevitable to all of us that the $15 minimum wage will be achieved, even if it is inconceivable to some. It is inevitable to us and we will work diligently to shorten the distance between the inevitable and the inconceivable,” she said.
The minimum wage spike may, in fact, not be so inevitable after all.
“[T]hat measure has been ruled out of order by a top Senate official who said that it did not qualify under the strict budgetary rules governing reconciliation bills,” according to The New York Times.
That said, Democrats are reportedly trying to concoct a scheme to bypass Senate rules.
“Senate Democrats were exploring alternatives that would allow them to maintain a version of the wage increase in the stimulus package without imperiling the broader plan,” the Times confirmed.
Sen. Ron Wyden reportedly indicated that the scheme may involve imposing “an escalating tax on the payrolls of large corporations, starting at 5 percent, if any of the companies’ workers earned less than a certain hourly wage,” according to the Times.
The measure would reportedly also include “safeguards” to prevent businesses from replacing their full-time staff with contract workers to avoid the potentially devastating tax.
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