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On Monday, during a House Budget Committee markup session on the $1.9 trillion “COVID relief” bill, Rep. Randy Feenstra (IA-04) criticized the partisan approach Democrats have taken — using it as a trojan horse to advance their political agenda rather than taking a temporary, targeted approach that will benefit all Americans.

“It is frustrating that only nine percent of the $1.9 trillion in taxpayer money being spent in this bill is related to public health and combating the virus,” said Rep. Feenstra. “What’s worse, Democrats are rushing it through Congress when over a trillion dollars in previously passed relief funds have yet to be spent. Their reckless, out-of-control spending will have dire consequences for generations to come. This bill, which is essentially Speaker Pelosi’s payoff to progressives, fails the American people on many levels — it’s not targeted, it was crafted in a partisan manner behind closed doors, and it completely ignores long-term consequences of reckless spending.”

In a speech before the committee, Feenstra pointed out that many provisions in this bill are progressive agenda items that have nothing to do with the pandemic. Pelosi’s Payoff to Progressives will use nearly $500 billion in taxpayer money — Iowans’ money — to bail out blue states whose own policies have shuttered businesses, further damaging their economies after decades of reckless spending. This is on top of the Democrats’ attempt to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which will destroy at least 1.4 million jobs and force rural main street businesses like hardware stores, grocery stores, and bakeries to close their doors.

Meanwhile, just $160 billion will be spent on public health measures, like funding for additional testing, contact tracing, or vaccine programs.

Below is the full text of Rep. Feenstra’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My motion would ensure that this relief package is a targeted response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It is frustrating that only nine percent of the $1.9 trillion of taxpayer money being spent in this bill is related to public health and combating the virus. The way that the majority has decided to go through this process makes it pretty clear how it wants to govern. I’ve spoken on the floor about how terrible it was that the Budget Committee did not get to work on the budget framework that started this process.

It is even worse that three committees were denied an opportunity to markup over $11.5 billion in spending, including a committee that I serve on. Every single bill was written behind closed doors, and it’s reflected in some of the out-of-touch policies that have found their way into this budget.

Let’s start with, how much funding will actually be spent combating COVID-19?

$160 billion.

$160 billion of nearly $2 trillion will go towards public health measures, like funding for additional testing, contact tracing, or vaccine programs.

So, what else is in the bill?

There are provisions in this bill that are just pork barrel spending for Democrat pet projects:

  • $1.5 million for the Seaway International Bridge in New York
  • $135 million to the National Endowment for the Arts 
  • $135 million to the National Endowment for the Humanities 
  • $200 million to the Institute of Museum and Library Services

And then there are examples like the issue of multiemployer pensions. While not related to COVID, this is a serious issue that needs real reform. Congress had previously put together a bipartisan committee to work it out.

Fast forward to today — rather than work together, this bill chooses to simply bail out the pension system for $86 billion, using an interest rate lower than what the plans themselves use to calculate liabilities.

That isn’t all, we can examine the distribution of funds to see where the money in this reckless spending bill is going:

  • 87% of Federal Transit Administration grants are going to cities
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is being distributed to states based on population and not poverty

Every COVID relief bill has been bipartisan.

Every one, until now.

We are rushing this bill through Congress when the Executive Branch can’t even find enough ways to spend the resources we’ve already sent.

We know this — there is still over a trillion dollars of unspent money left from past COVID bills.

This kind of out-of-control spending has consequences.

This deficit spending will trigger PAYGO and cut Medicare in the middle of a pandemic.

And it continues poisoning the well between our two sides of the aisle.

Author: Press Release