Washington Post: Democrats Are Not Targeting Covid Relief Bill

February 19, 2021 — Blog    — Coronavirus Bulletin    — In Case You Missed It...    — Press Releases   

Democrats are failing to target their covid relief bill to help those who need it, according to an editorial by The Washington Post.

The newspaper’s editorial board urges Democrats to provide relief “on the widest bipartisan basis possible,” writing “this particular bit of sausage-making illustrates the complications that develop when lawmakers start to stray from straightforward attention to the most urgent covid-related needs.” They also note that “Mr. Biden and Congress seem bent on distributing the $1,400 checks to a far wider segment of the population than really needs them.”

Ways and Means Republicans throughout last week’s hearing offered amendments that Democrats would not include in the package, including targeting checks to those that need them, because it would obstruct the partisan process being used to pass the bill. Click here for a cheat sheet, or look at all the amendments themselves in our minority report.

The editorial echoes Ways and Means Republican Leader Kevin Brady’s (R-TX) opening remarks at the hearing, but does not mention that in its failure to focus on the crisis, the Biden bill fails to create any jobs at all. As Rep. Brady said, “Whatever this rushed, partisan, special interest ‘stimulus’ package does, it comes with no bipartisan discussion, no opportunity for finding common ground, and no credible estimate of jobs.” The Biden Administration has so far not responded to our requests for such an estimate.

Key excerpts appear below, or click here for the full editorial. 

Washington Post Opinion: Congress needs to focus its covid relief bill — on covid relief

  • “THE UNITED STATES needs more federal funding to cope with the ongoing damage done by the covid-19 pandemic, and Congress and President Biden should provide it on the widest bipartisan basis possible — and swiftly. That means setting aside legislative items not directly related to covid, despite lawmakers’ inevitable temptation to take advantage of a crisis to advance other priorities.”
  • “Yet the bill now moving through the House shows signs of losing focus in just that way. […t]he bill just approved by Ways and Means one-sidedly provides the funds a slug of federal cash, with little structural reform required beyond a somewhat increased employer premium. Its likely net cost: $56 billion.”
  •  “To make the pension bailout fit within the $1.9 trillion budget ceiling suggested by Mr. Biden and enshrined in a budget reconciliation resolution, along with $1,400 stimulus “checks” and other spending items, the committee had to offset the cost by ending a much more vital program — extended unemployment benefits — at the end of August rather than September, as Mr. Biden originally advocated. To be sure, this might be intended as a temporary accounting move, which (for arcane procedural reasons) the Senate can still adjust, as a Democratic House aide familiar with the legislation explained to us.”
  • “[t]his particular bit of sausage-making illustrates the complications that develop when lawmakers start to stray from straightforward attention to the most urgent covid-related needs. It’s bad enough that Mr. Biden and Congress seem bent on distributing the $1,400 checks to a far wider segment of the population than really needs them.”

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