When someone proposes an 1,800 page bill...
When someone proposes a 1,800-page bill that 1️⃣ was negotiated in secret 2️⃣ will cost more than $3 trillion dollars, before we even understand the impact of earlier expenditures 3️⃣ has more than 70 appropriations in excess of a billion dollars each 4️⃣ contains countless partisan measures that are completely unrelated to the bill’s stated purpose 5️⃣ has no chance of ever becoming law…
...in Congress this is known as a “messaging bill.” It allows the sponsors to stand on their soapbox claiming they’re “working for the American people” when in reality, the legislation is entirely about trying to advance a political agenda rather than addressing the issues at hand.
That’s exactly what happened Tuesday when a select group of liberals in the House proposed the much-anticipated 5th piece of COVID-19 legislation. This bill, H.R. 6800, should have been a bi-partisan effort to refine and improve upon the popular CARES Act, which passed overwhelmingly in late March.
Instead, what the House will vote on this Friday is literally a 1,815-page bill packed with unsustainable spending and blatant attempts to further the left’s agenda. Just thumbing through the legislation, we see numerous gems like these:
❌ It would enable illegal immigrants to receive $1,200 in economic stimulus payments by removing the requirement to have a Social Security Number, and replacing it with only an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
❌ It would impose federal mandates on how states must run their elections, particularly related to mail-in voting and voter ID.
❌ It would authorize additional multimillion-dollar grants for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.
❌ It would provide an extension of the enhanced unemployment insurance payments that have made it very difficult for many employers to recall furloughed workers.
❌ It would send over $900 billion in unrestricted aid to states and local governments. This is not the federal government’s role! It’s a horrible idea, as it would be used to support & sustain decades of fiscal mismanagement by many states.
❌ It would provide a major break to millionaires and billionaires by removing the cap on the amount of state & local taxes that can be deducted from their federal tax returns.
I’m just getting started here, but the point is many of these provisions are completely unrelated to our COVID-19 response. Instead, they’re an effort to exploit this pandemic to advance an agenda.
Of course, “messaging bills” always includes some worthy elements, and this is no exception. After all, there HAVE to be a few good things in the bill – that’s what enables proponents to claim you’re “anti-something” if you dare question the legitimacy of their extraneous items. (Anti-children, anti-workers, anti-healthcare, anti-seniors, anti-law enforcement, anti-veterans, etc.)
Such will be the mis-characterizations you’ll likely hear when conservatives vote against this proposal on Friday. It’s all so predictable and played out.
Yes, there are some elements in this bill that I believe are worthy of consideration. However, the bad far outweighs the good, and H.R. 6800 is not something I can support. Let’s hope the Senate will do a better job (A) understanding the impact of what we’ve spent so far; (B) understanding where the real needs are right now, and then (C) crafting a better piece of legislation that speaks to the crisis we’re in, not to a political agenda.
While we have urgent and important things Congress must address related to COVID-19 and our economy, those who see this pandemic as “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit [their] vision” are NOT helping matters right now.
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