On the campaign trail and at his inauguration, President Biden promised to pursue unity and bipartisanship, yet he did the opposite with the first major bill his administration has pushed. As a result, on Friday, I had to vote against Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and President Biden’s so-called COVID relief bill. Despite the name, the reality is that less than 10 percent of the more than $1.9 trillion taxpayer dollars spent in the bill will be spent on COVID-relief related items. They pushed this bill despite the fact that $1 trillion of COVID-relief provided in the bill we passed in December still hasn’t been spent!
President Biden asked for ideas on what could be cut from the proposal to reduce the cost but at the end of the day he rejected them all and sent even more than planned! Among others, I promised several cuts including:
- $129 billion for schools as 95% of this money is allocated to be spent in years 2022-2028 and is going to schools even if they do not reopen to teach in-person classes
- $100 million for Pelosi and Schumer’s pet projects: the Silicon Valley Underground Tunnel and Seaway International Bridge to Canada
- $135 million for the National Endowment of the Arts
- $350 billion to bail out blue-states’ budget failures that pre-date the pandemic
- $35 billion to subsidize Obamacare
- Mandated minimum wage increase that will eliminate 1.4 million jobs, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, and
- Language that allows Planned Parenthood to receive PPP funding.
Democrats rejected every Republican idea and proposal, including my amendment to redirect $9 billion to FEMA as they support vaccine distribution and administration across the country. They also rejected a proposed amendment by Rep. Hinson that would redirect the $140 million allocated for the Pelosi and Schumer projects to support mental health and suicide prevention services in states where children do not have the option of in-person instruction at school. Sadly, Democrats’ actions show this bill was not about helping hardworking Americans who are still suffering because of the pandemic, it was about chalking up a win for socialist-liberalist ideas.
Congressman Daniel Webster represents The Villages in the U.S. House of Representatives.