Congress is expected to vote on the second Wuhan coronavirus relief package that is tied to the omnibus spending bill. There have been complaints – and very valid ones at that – about members of Congress and their staff not having enough time to read the text of the more than 5,000 page document.
We have frequently been told about the small portion of the bill that addresses the pandemic, like $300 a week in unemployment benefits and another round of direct pay stimulus checks. Instead of being $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, there is a flat rate of $600 per person, with no distinction between whether they are an adult or a child. The bill also includes funding for schools, health care workers and vaccine distribution. Another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are also part of this bill.
That begs the question: what is in the bill that is not tied to the pandemic? Here are just a few:
Climate change is referenced multiple times throughout the bill.
The Covid relief bill lays the groundwork for a “Climate Security Advisory Council” pic.twitter.com/DK66scA970— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
Some highlights of garbage in the COVID relief bill.— Beth Baumann (@eb454) December 22, 2020
Invasive Species assessment, mitigation and reductions. Price tag: $130,000,000 (pp 1594) pic.twitter.com/Ci5lReStU1
Apparently Congress is worried about "water resources on the Tibetan Plateau." No price tag is associated with this, from what I can see. pic.twitter.com/RwMqn3maIC— Beth Baumann (@eb454) December 22, 2020
Wait. It looks like it's $1,00,000. And there's a scholarship too. pic.twitter.com/oBLPhNk4N6— Beth Baumann (@eb454) December 22, 2020
There is also quite a bit of funding for other countries.
Creating a US-India Gandhi-King Development Foundation with an annual budget of $30,000,000+ pic.twitter.com/dSZ4nBNBOy— Beth Baumann (@eb454) December 22, 2020
And there's assistance for Tibetan refugees. $8,000,00 per year for the next 4 fiscal years. And $4,000,000 per year for the Tibetan government. pic.twitter.com/zay0vSLTsF— Beth Baumann (@eb454) December 22, 2020
To make matters even worse, the funding is not just for those countries and their governments. It is for ridiculous things, like "gender programs."
The Covid relief bill also includes $10 million for “gender programs” in Pakistan pic.twitter.com/7kivucCjvY— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
And who could leave out the horse racing bit? Apparently Congress would create a committee that regulates horses used for racing to prevent people from injecting them with performance-enhancing drugs.
The Covid relief bill includes a lengthy subsection titled “the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020” pic.twitter.com/zfBtHUnRhE— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
The Covid relief bill creates a committee to regulate performance-enhancing drugs in horse racing pic.twitter.com/bsfOta51nx— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
The Covid relief bill will make it illegal to give racehorses pain-killers before training or racing pic.twitter.com/ttZEGgxyKa— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
The Covid relief bill outlays funds to address gender inequality amongst statues pic.twitter.com/kx7ffMclHn— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
Of course the arts has to be represented.
The Covid relief bill includes funds for a museum that will offer “programming, education, exhibitions” on … “the life, art, history, and culture of women” pic.twitter.com/9xFwUh67Te— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
And HIV workers stationed abroad need a helping hand.
The Covid relief bill includes $193 million for federal HIV/AIDS workers stationed abroad to buy new cars pic.twitter.com/y16iyK2aJF— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
While we are at it, let us create a public service announcement (PSA) campaign to prevent teenagers from drinking underage and having sex? Maybe we should throw in another commission, this one with the goal of teaching Americans how to properly store flammable liquids.
The Covid relief bill includes funding to discourage teenagers from drinking and hooking up pic.twitter.com/fklSOaW4Gp— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
The Covid relief bill creates a commission tasked with educating “consumers about the dangers associated with using or storing portable fuel containers for flammable liquids near an open flame." pic.twitter.com/W3Qc6B7CRG— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
And New York's Kennedy Center needed cash thrown its way.
The Covid relief bill provides $40 million for the Kennedy Center pic.twitter.com/aHt8UEkYWA— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
While many Americans are still out of work, Congress seems to think it is a good idea to create new "diversity" mandates, including dedicating an entire office to the measure.
The Covid relief bill includes $1.5 million for the Appropriations Committee’s “Office of Diversity and Inclusion” as well as lots of money for receptions pic.twitter.com/Biy5ULBD4G— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
The Covid relief bill mandates new hiring measures to ensure diversity in the intelligence community pic.twitter.com/6Xaaq0kaMH— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 21, 2020
There is also funding for public media outlets, including those that are outside the United States.
It keeps getting better. Funding for Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. pic.twitter.com/erjcfQvdJJ— Beth Baumann (@eb454) December 22, 2020
And millions are being used for Joe Biden's transition team.
Section 136 of CR provides funding for the Executive Office of the President to provide administrative support for a Presidential transition: "amounts are provided to 'Presidential Transition Administrative Support’' at a rate for operations of $8,000,000."— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) September 21, 2020
But hey, at least Congress will benefit from this bill, right?
Congress is setting aside money in its COVID-19 stimulus program to pay the added pandemic expenses inside its own US Senate daycare center pic.twitter.com/mQieVPpLuH— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) December 21, 2020
This is prime example of why so many people cannot stand politics or politicians. Americans want to feel as though their elected officials have their best interest at heart. It is hard to make that argument when there is unnecessary crap in a bill that is supposed to supposedly help people through the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. This bill is nothing more than a bunch of special interests thrown into one and sprinkled with COVID relief. There are more than 5,000 pages to this bill and yet how many items do we hear about? Maybe 5 to 10 pages worth, if that?
If Congress actually wanted to get things done and help the American people, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer would have been willing to work with Republicans before the presidential election. They would have passed a single bill that focused solely on the virus and relief for individuals and businesses instead of tossing it into the omnibus bill.