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Tags: relief bill | Democratic | handouts

Big Surprises in Democratic COVID-19 Relief Bill — or Maybe Not

Big Surprises in Democratic COVID-19 Relief Bill — or Maybe Not
(Photo by GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Dorstewitz By Monday, 22 February 2021 10:57 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

The massive, nearly 600-page $1.9 trillion COVD-19 relief package that the Democratic Party unveiled this past Friday appears to provide relief to nearly everyone — with the exception the American people.

But of possible greater importance, at least to Democrats, is a section in the proposal referred to as "Labor Matters."

This provision in the bill would initially raise the federal minimum wage from its present $7.25 an hour to $9.50, and then bump it up annually until it reaches $15 after four years.

After that, the Secretary of Labor can adjust it each year.

But that provision may be blocked in the Senate.

Normally 60 senators have to agree to close debate and pass a bill, unless it’s a taxation or spending provision.

In that event it would go through a budget reconciliation process that only requires a simple majority for approval.

But a minimum wage provision appears to have nothing to do with taxes or spending. It’s more regulatory.

Nonetheless, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., told CNN’s Dana Bash on "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes the federal minimum wage hike will pass muster under a budget reconciliation process.

"If Republicans could give a $2 trillion tax break to the wealthiest people and stop Arctic drilling, then—or continue drilling in the Arctic—then I think that Democrats can make sure that 30 million Americans get a raise [through the reconciliation process]," said Rep. Jayapal, who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

But even President Joe Biden believes that the nonpartisan Senate parliamentarian will more-than-likely strip the federal minimum wage hike from the bill.

However, Vice President Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, has the power to override the parliamentarian’s decision, and in that event it would take 60 votes to override her.

NBC News’ Sahil Kapur said that although such an end run is possible, it’s never happened before — and for good reason.

"If this majority can overrule the nonpartisan referee on what’s allowed, the next won’t be constrained," he said. "It sets a new precedent that anything goes in reconciliation if the party in power supports it."

And the current "party in power" is only barely in power. The Senate is split at 50/50 with only the vice president casting a deciding vote in the event of a tie.

But even without the federal minimum wage boost, the bill is a nightmare—long on pork and short on any actual relief to those who genuinely need it.

Its provisions include:

  • $300 million to the World Organization for Animal Health to "conduct monitoring and surveillance of susceptible incidence of SARS-COVID-2"
  • $128.5+ billion to the Department of Education "for providing grants to the states"
  • "Alleviating discriminatory barriers" of "socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers" by paying off 120% of their debt — because just paying off all their debt isn’t enough, or something
  • $1 billion for outreach programs to serve those same "socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers"
  • $15 billion to bail out commercial airlines
  • $40 billion to colleges and universities
  • $91 million for "outreach to student loan borrowers" —both domestic and international
  • $135 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
  • Another $135 million for the National Endowment of the Humanities
  • $200 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
  • $10 million for the Preservation of Native American languages
  • $276 million for Aging and Disability Services
  • $1.4+ billion for supporting Older Americans and their Families
  • $15 billion in a Child Care and Development block grant
  • $4.5 billion to pay utilities for public housing
  • $1 billion in funding for vaccine confidence activities — it assures Americans that vaccines are safe
  • $500 million to upgrade the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public health surveillance capabilities

This list is by no means comprehensive. The bill, after all, drones on for 591 pages.

It eventually gets to the point where each taxpayer is entitled $1,400.

But the $75,000 income threshold is absurd. Does anyone earning $75,000 seriously need a $1,400 government check to survive?

Half of that salary figure would seem more appropriate.

The $600 billion price tag of the COVID stimulus package offered by Republicans was less than one-third as expensive as this monstrosity.

But what politicians from both parties have to realize is that the only true, lasting stimulus is the one you can only get from a job and a regular paycheck.

It’s past time to take a cue from Republican governors like South Dakota’s Kristi Noem and Florida’s Ron DeSantis, and open up businesses and schools and put America back to work again.

Government handouts and a $15 minimum wage will only accomplish three things: keeping the American workforce unemployed, ensuring the American economy remains unhealthy, and guaranteeing that the American treasury will be unable to meet its obligations with little tax revenue coming.

Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. Read Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.

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It’s past time we open up businesses and schools and put America back to work again.
relief bill, Democratic, handouts
Monday, 22 February 2021 10:57 AM
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