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I asked our team to pause for family time this week before kids return to school. The homepage is updated daily. The Digest returns on Monday, August 2. —Mark Alexander

Nate Jackson / Mar. 1, 2021

Dems Force Through Not-COVID Relief

In the wee hours this weekend, House Democrats passed their pork-laden bill.

Over unanimous Republican opposition, House Democrats barely passed their pork-loaded COVID-but-not-COVID relief bill Saturday. Two Democrats joined every opposing Republican in a 219-212 vote. As outrageous as it is, this kind of crisis-exploiting “stimulus” has been a Democrat specialty since Barack Obama’s first effort in 2009.

As we wrote last week, less than half of the bill is even arguably related to COVID, while the rest is a grab bag of spending on leftist constituency groups.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says it’s even worse: “Congress won’t actually vote on this bill until 2 a.m. Saturday. Why? Because Democrats are so embarrassed by all the non-COVID waste in this bill that they are jamming it through in the dead of night. We ran the numbers. The amount of money that actually goes to defeating the virus is less than 9 percent — Less than 9 percent! So don’t call it a rescue bill. Don’t call it a relief bill. Call it the Pelosi Payoff.”

The relief portion includes $1,400 checks for all Americans earning less than $75,000, more “enhanced” unemployment benefits of $400 per week, more business loans, more bailout money for industries particularly hard hit by Democrat-led shutdowns, and billions for health-related items. The other $1 trillion is decidedly not related to COVID.

“Yes this package is big, but the scale that families face is enormous,” insisted California Democrat Barbara Lee. “Half measures just won’t cut it.”

Actually, half of this measure would still be too high.

“The numbers speak volumes. 18 million Americans on unemployment. 24 million people are going hungry,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared. “The time for decisive action is long overdue.”

If it’s so urgent, why is so much of the spending deferred for the next few years? In fact, 10% of it won’t be spent until 2024 or later. If that’s an “emergency,” the word has no meaning.

Moreover, anyone else wonder why, if unemployment is already sky high, Democrats have included a measure to kill 1.4 million jobs? That’s exactly what their $15 minimum wage would do, according to the CBO. On top of that, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the wage hike cannot be included in a bill under budget reconciliation. The House included it anyway.

That poison pill isn’t really about getting workers more money, of course. It’s a strategic play for Democrat votes against those mean old Republicans who just don’t want to pay workers more. Washington Democrats are counting on voters being ignorant of the resulting economic devastation such a drastic wage hike would produce.

Then again, as our Arnold Ahlert argues today, for Democrats, economic devastation is the point.

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