Congress & COVID Relief: Too Much and Too Little

    So says the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

    “The goal of COVID relief is to end the pandemic, protect incomes, and support the economic recovery. The House bill not only spends far more than is needed to achieve these goals, but also puts too many of these plentiful dollars in the wrong places.

    Only about 1 percent of the entire package goes toward COVID vaccines, and 5 percent is truly focused on public health needs surrounding the pandemic. Meanwhile, nearly half of the package will be spent on poorly targeted rebate checks and state and local government aid, including to households and governments that have experienced little or no financial loss during this crisis.

    More than 15 percent of the package – about $300 billion – is spent on long-standing policy priorities that are not directly related to the current crisis.

    Perhaps most concerning, the House Ways & Means Committee appears to have made space for the pension bailout by only extending expanded unemployment benefits through August, cutting them off a month earlier than President Biden proposed, and many months earlier than they should be. These multiemployer pensions have been on shaky ground for some time and ought to be dealt with transparently, where lawmakers can appropriately finance and reform these plans. The financial status of these funds shouldn’t be addressed in a piece of crisis legislation, and certainly not at the cost of benefits for unemployed workers. Frankly, no member of Congress should be willing to defend this.

    It’s important to remember that when it comes to a choice between unemployed poor people and well-paid, Democrat-voting government workers, the poor always lose.

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