'EVERY American should be enraged right now,' tweeted a Republican congresswoman.
House Republicans claimed on Monday that just 9% of the funds in President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan actually go to combat the coronavirus. This figure is way off.
The Republican minority staff on the House Budget Committee shared a misleading pie graph on social media, claiming, "Democrats are pushing a bill that will destroy jobs, harm America's working class, and bailout @POTUS political allies. Less than 9% would go towards crushing #COVID19."
Their chart identifies $160 billion of the funds as going to "combating the virus," while dismissing $471 billion as going to "policies that destroy jobs," $510 billion as "state and local bailouts," and $325 billion as just "other."
Numerous GOP lawmakers seized on this argument, dismissing the pandemic relief bill as not doing much to fight the pandemic.
"Less than 9% of the Democrat's $1.9 trillion 'COVID relief' bill actually goes towards combatting COVID-19," complained Ohio Rep. Bill Johnson.
"Let's be real: Less than 9 percent of the spending in this bill goes to crushing the COVID-19 virus and putting shots in people's arms," added Missouri Rep. Jason Smith.
"This week Democrats are forcing a vote on a partisan COVID 'relief' package that provides less than 9% of funding to combat COVID-19," argued West Virginia Rep. David McKinley. "There's bipartisan support to providing additional pandemic relief, however, we need to make sure that the funding is targeted and tied to COVID."
"Biden and Nancy Pelosi want to ram another $2 trillion in spending through this week," said Florida Rep. Kat Cammack. "NO Republican input. Less than 9% goes to actual COVID relief. Hikes up our National debt to nearly $30T. EVERY American should be enraged right now."
Reps. Randy Feenstra of Iowa and Lauren Boebert of Colorado even requested the bill be amended to remove all of the spending that was not part of that $160 billion that was "directly related" to the health crisis. Feenstra said at Monday's House Budget Committee hearing that the rest was "pork barrel spending."
But a huge portion of the other funding would help curb the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Biden administration's proposal, the emergency aid to state, local, and territorial governments is intended to "ensure that they are in a position to keep front line public workers on the job and paid, while also effectively distributing the vaccine, scaling testing, reopening schools, and maintaining other vital services." The funds would have a significant impact in letting state and local officials do what is necessary to address the problem, tailored to their communities' needs.
Republicans have bragged that previous COVID-19 legislation has been bipartisan, suggesting that their unanimous opposition to advancing this bill makes the Democratic majority's efforts illegitimate. "We've passed bipartisan COVID-19 relief before, & this time should be no different," urged Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko on Feb. 11. "Dems should put politics aside & work for the American people."
But according to a January analysis from the pro-austerity Peter G. Peterson Foundation, just $483 billion of the nearly $3.5 trillion passed in those bipartisan 2020 COVID-19 relief bills have gone to "public health and related spending." That made up just about 13% of the funding, while more than 25% went to "support for small businesses."
A year ago, as Donald Trump claimed that the coronavirus was "very much under control," he told Congress that he needed just $2.5 billion to control COVID-19. His administration said this would be used to "accelerate vaccine development, support preparedness and response activities and to procure much needed equipment and supplies."
Congressional Democrats, panning Trump's proposal as "woefully insufficient" and "indicative of his towering incompetence," instead helped pass an $8.3 billion plan at the time.
Trump ridiculed them, bragging, "We're signing the $8.3 billion. I asked for $2.5 and I got $8.3, and I'll take it."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.