Democrats’ COVID relief breakdown by numbers is breathtaking
The Senate narrowly passed its $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill and Republicans are blowing up the package for its hundreds of billions unrelated to Covid relief.
After 27 hours of debate, delays and wrangling, Democrats passed the legislation in a 50-49 vote. The legislation is now returning to the House for final approval before hitting President Biden’s office for his signature on what would be his first major legislative victory.
The move comes as the United States has accumulated a national debt of nearly $ 28 trillion, or nearly $ 85,000 per person, and 2020 saw a deficit of $ 3.3 trillion.
“The Senate has never spent $ 2,000 billion more haphazardly or through a less rigorous process,” GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said before the vote.
“This is not about COVID relief. It’s about using a health crisis as an excuse to go through a left-wing wish list, ”Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa., Wrote on Twitter, with a list of funds in the bill he deems unnecessary for coronavirus relief.
Here are some of the priorities Toomey did not approve of in the invoice:
$ 350 billion for state and local governments
Despite GOP objections, $ 350 billion has been included for state and local governments to make up for lost tax revenue during the pandemic. But reports show state and local governments did much better than expected in 2020. Many states, including California, Virginia, Arizona, Colorado, and others, ended up raising more in 2020 than expected. they did it the year before. A JP Morgan survey called 2020 “practically flat” with 2019. One reason could be the federal supplement to unemployment benefits.
According to a count of Commission for a responsible budget, previous relief bills included $ 360 billion for state and local governments.
Over $ 128 billion for schools
As Toomey points out, schools will receive $ 128,554,800,000 in federal assistance, but only 5% of that money will be spent in fiscal year 2021.
$ 570 million in 15-week paid leave for federal employees
Federal employees would qualify for up to $ 280 per day, up to $ 21,000. This would cover sick leave, emergencies or payment when an employee is exposed to Covid-19 and needs to self-quarantine.
Significant extension of the Affordable Care Act
Toomey says the bill includes $ 45 billion for Obamacare, which is the estimated deficit impact of the expansion included in the Covid relief bill.
Increased unemployment benefits
Toomey wrote that the bill includes $ 200 billion for improved unemployment benefits, although that number has not been confirmed. The Senate bill includes $ 300 per week of increased unemployment and assistance that would run through September 6 – slightly longer than the August 29 expiration in the bill passed by the House. The first $ 10,200 of unemployment benefits would also be tax-free for households with incomes below $ 150,000.
$ 4 billion for agriculture
The bill allocates $ 4 billion to the Secretary of Agriculture to purchase food or commodities and to provide grants and loans, including more than $ 1 billion for “socially disadvantaged” or likely farmers. minority. The money for socially disadvantaged farmers would be used to improve access to land and to provide education and training services, and includes loan assistance to repay up to 120% of the debt.
$ 50 million in environmental justice grants
$ 100 million would be made available “to address health disparities due to pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic”, and half of that would be used to “identify and treat disproportionate harm and risk for the environment or public health in minority or low-income populations. . “
$ 91 million in “Student Loan Borrower Awareness
The money would remain available until September 2023 and is listed as “Student Aid Administration within the Department of Education to Prevent, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus, Including Direct Outreach to Students and Borrowers on financial aid, economic impact payments, resources, allowances, unemployment assistance and tax benefits, to which students and borrowers may be entitled.
Other provisions include:
$ 270 million for the National Endowments of the Arts and Humanities
$ 200 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services
$ 10 million for “the preservation and maintenance of Amerindian languages”