Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, March 4, 2021
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s move to add $140 million for a Silicon Valley subway tunnel to the coronavirus relief package was rejected by the Senate parliamentarian on Wednesday.
“Parliamentarian rules against Pelosi tunnel earmark,” tweeted Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, who called it a “small victory.”
Grassley said there is still a lot of money in the $1.9 trillion measure that isn’t coronavirus-related, “but as a matter of common sense the Silicon Valley tunnel should be out.” He questioned what the “pilot project” has to do with a pandemic.
The parliamentarian also decided last week that a provision to raise the minimum wage to $15 could not be included in the covid relief bill.
The Senate parliamentarian’s decision on the tunnel came after, twice in less than a week, House Democrats chose Pelosi’s subway tunnel gift to Silicon Valley over providing children more access to mental health support.
House Republicans thought that the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill should include some funding for — coronavirus relief.
Wisconsin Republican Rep. Bryan Steil noted that “Speaker Pelosi rammed the $1.9 trillion Biden Bailout Bill through Congress, even though $1 trillion in previously approved federal funds remain unspent. These already approved dollars should be used to safely reopen schools, accelerate vaccine distribution and help workers get back to work. The Biden Bailout Bill includes $350 billion to bail out fiscally irresponsible states like Illinois and only a fraction of the total funding will go towards coronavirus relief. Of the billions of dollars included in this bill for education, none of it is tied to reopening and only five percent of this money will be spent this year. Our country needs targeted relief, not a liberal wish list.”
That “wish list,” Republicans said, included the $140 million for Pelosi’s pet project of an underground tunnel in San Francisco for Silicon Valley employees.
Oklahoma Republican Rep. Stephanie Bice on Monday proposed redirecting funding for Pelosi’s tunnel and instead providing $140 million to support mental health suicide prevention in states where children do not have in-person teaching. It is well established that the mental health of children has suffered significantly during the pandemic and Bice’s proposal would use covid relief money for actual covid relief.
The Democrats shot down Bice’s proposal.
For Democrats, it is much more important to reward the Big Tech overlords who fund their campaigns than to ensure the mental health of America’s children.
It was the second time in less than a week that House Democrats blocked Republican efforts to redirect funding of Pelosi’s subway tunnel.
Democrats also blocked Iowa Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson’s motion to provide more mental health funding for children by eliminating funding for the Silicon Valley tunnel.
Hinson said of including Pelosi’s reward to Big Tech in the covid relief package: “How insulting is this to the frontline workers who still have not received a COVID-19 vaccine? Or to the mom trying to pay the rent while her small business is in danger? To the ER docs and nurses treating young children who have been rushed in for a mental health crisis?”