The American Rescue Plan of 2021 may be billed as a COVID relief package but it’s anything but. As The Wall Street Journal reported, the majority of spending goes toward “bailouts for Democratic constituencies, expansions of progressive programs, pork, and unrelated policy changes.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said only 9 percent of the bill actually addressed COVID-19.
During a news conference on Wednesday, Republicans voiced their opposition to the legislation.
“It’s very simple. We’re here today because Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden decided to use a pandemic to push forward a progressive wish list; items to reward political allies, friends, and donors at the expense of the American working class,” said Republican Rep. Jason Smith, ranking member of the House Budget Committee.
GOP Rep. Steve Scalise, meanwhile, brought up just a small sample of the items in the package that ought to be cut.
Biden challenged us to say what we'd cut from his partisan "COVID" bill.— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) February 24, 2021
- $112M to Pelosi's Silicon Valley Tunnel
- $1.5M to Schumer's Bridge to Canada
- $350B to bail out blue states
- $86B to bail out pensions failing long before COVID pic.twitter.com/vWVwRrpHqP
McCarthy noted that if Biden truly cared about unity, Democrats aren't doing a very good job including input from the GOP.
“Republicans offered 286 amendments to President Biden’s massive $1.9 TRILLION spending blowout. Democrats accepted 2 of them. So much for Biden’s calls for ‘unity,'” McCarthy said.
Republicans offered 286 amendments to President Biden's massive $1.9 TRILLION spending blowout. Democrats accepted 2 of them. So much for Biden’s calls for “unity.” https://t.co/7EEwbEFQYM— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) February 24, 2021
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pushed back, claiming the legislation will provide "bold COVID relief."
“Republican leaders are reportedly ‘maneuvering’ to get every single Republican member to oppose urgent, bold COVID relief. Every single one! Make no mistake: Democrats are working to quickly deliver the American Rescue Plan and big, bold COVID relief,” Schumer said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, has pointed out Democrats aren't really addressing the main issues at hand.
“Only about 1% of the Democrats’ partisan plan goes to vaccines. Only about 5% of its K-12 funding would even go out this fiscal year. Democrats are not addressing the urgent needs of a re-opening America. They started with a preconceived liberal wish-list and worked backward,” he said on Twitter.