OPINION

Congressman Smith Capitol Report: The Wrong Plan

Jason Smith

This week we saw Washington Democrats charge ahead and pass the Biden Bailout Bill, the largest spending package in our nation’s history. As the Republican Leader of the Budget Committee, who had a front row seat to what was included, I can assure you this was the most partisan package we’ve ever seen. Not a single Republican voted for this bailout bill, and in fact, the only bipartisan thing about it was the vote against it.

President Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have been telling the American people this bill contains COVID relief, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, less than 9 percent of the $1.9 trillion that President Biden asked for is actually going towards crushing the virus or putting shots in people’s arms. The reality is this was a $1.9 TRILLION bailout for liberal special interests and their blue state allies.

If this bill were about direct aid to people and putting shots in American’s arms, you would have seen strong bipartisan support. But that’s not what this bill was about. The assistance wasn’t targeted, it wasn’t timely, and wasn’t needed. As I’ve been saying, it was the wrong plan, at the wrong time, for all the wrong reasons.

The Biden administration has been bragging that this assistance will be critical to reopening schools. But once again, Washington Democrats rejected Republican amendments that would have ensured schools reopen, and only 5% of the $130 billion set aside for K-12 schools will be spent this year.

How about money for homeless assistance? None of the $5 billion allocated will be spent this year. If President Biden and Speaker Pelosi are so concerned about providing immediate relief to support working class Americans most affected by this virus, why is the majority of all the money being spent over a 10-year period?

What’s even worse, because Democrats chose the partisan reconciliation process, this bill results in a $36 billion annual cut to Medicare next year and every year for the next ten years. This is reckless and irresponsible and could have been easily avoided if we worked together.

All of these problems are because this bailout bill isn’t about relief. This is about rewarding their special interest allies and blue-state governors with their wish list of liberal goodies. These are the same liberal allies and governors that ignored science, shut down their own economies, and helped propel Joe Biden into the White House.

One of the many things that I've raised throughout this process is that we have over a TRILLION dollars that has not been spent from the previous relief package Congress passed in December. Shouldn’t we have an accounting of the unspent $1 trillion before pushing nearly another $2 trillion? I repeatedly asked the White House for this information, but they denied me at every turn. This is unacceptable.

This bailout doesn’t help the working class, it doesn’t help small businesses, and the only winners are the president’s friends and allies.

Congressman Jason Smith, R-MO, represents Rolla in Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District.