by WorldTribune Staff, December 23, 2020
In a video message posted on Twitter on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the $900 billion coronavirus relief package “really is a disgrace” and is full of “wasteful” items.
“It’s called the covid relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with covid,” the president said.
A number of House members and senators have said they were not given enough time to read the 5,593-page legislation before it was voted on. Still, it passed the Senate by a vote of 91-6 and the House by a vote of 359-53.
The bill includes a one-time $600 payment to most Americans. Trump said the figure should be $2,000.
Trump said that funds earmarked in the bill for foreign aid should go to struggling Americans.
“This bill contains $85.5m for assistance to Cambodia, $134m to Burma, $1.3bn for Egypt and the Egyptian military, which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment, $25m for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan, $505m to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.”
The president also questioned why the Kennedy Center performing arts complex in Washington was set to receive $40 million when it is not open, and noted that more than $1 billion has been allocated to museums and galleries in D.C.
“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists and special interests, while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it. It wasn’t their fault. It was China’s fault,” Trump said.
Joe Biden said Congress “did its job this week.”
But Biden, who has been at home in the swamp for nearly 50 years, also called the bill merely a “down payment.”
That’s a “down payment” for such things as $2.5 million to count amberjack fish in the Gulf of Mexico; $3 million in poultry production technology; and $566 million for FBI construction projects. Yes, those things are actually in the 5,593-page bill that no one read.
Other items in the bill:
• $4 billion for New York’s MTA as part of bailouts for mass-transit systems.
• $193 million for federal HIV/AIDS workers stationed abroad to buy new cars.
• $15 billion earmarked toward grant programs for live entertainment venues such as Broadway.
• $500 million earmarked for Israeli defense purchases, including to equip the Iron Dome missile defense system.
• $250 million over five years for Palestinian economic aid, which was pushed by New York Democrat Rep. Nita Lowey. This pork product is actually named the “Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act of 2020”.
• $101 million to combat “the transnational threat of wildlife poaching and trafficking.”
• $2.5 million for “Internet freedom programs in closed societies”
• $10 million for “gender programs” meant to help women get education and start businesses in Pakistan.
Millions more were set aside to to fund an investigation of the “1908 Springfield Race Riot”; enforce horse-racing integrity; and monitor climate change allegedly taking place in Tibet.
Sen. Ted Cruz, one of only six Republicans in the Senate to vote against the bill, called it a “legislative monstrosity” that amounted to a “wasteful end-of-year spending bill” which advanced the interests of the “radical left” and “swamp lobbyists.”
In addition to Cruz, Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rick Scott of Florida, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin voted against the bill.
Paul took to the Senate floor to slam Republicans who supported the bill: “Maybe these new free money Republicans should join the everybody-gets-a-guaranteed-income caucus. Why not $20,000 a year for everybody? Why not $30,000? If we can print up money with impunity, why not do it?” he asked.
“The treasury can just keep printing the money. That is, until someone points out that the emperor has no clothes and that the dollar no longer has value,” the Kentucky Republican added.