Democrats are eager to blow up the Senate filibuster, the final procedural hurdle for the one-party government. The latest is that Republicans are opposed to the president’s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package. Despite having passed five bipartisan Covid-19 relief bills to date – including one just under seven weeks ago – they claim our opposition shows historical intransigence.
No, it shows the $ 1.9 trillion bill is a sucker. It would waste hundreds of billions of dollars doing nothing useful to get kids back to school and enact policies that work against job creation. The most recent analysis of the Congressional budget found that more than a third of the proposed funds – $ 700 billion – would not be spent until 2022 or later, undermining the government’s claim that the massive price paid on urgent pandemic-related needs is justified.
The Biden incentive is an unsound economic policy. High unemployment is not the result of too little money in American pockets; It’s because of the pandemic. Sending checks does not bring consumers back to restaurants, bars, salons, shopping malls, hotels or planes. Almost record-breaking savings are proof that consumers can spend money. When Covid is finally in the rearview mirror, they’ll come back roaring. Congress should target support to those who need it and help expedite vaccine delivery – not borrowing hundreds of billions more to remove items from a political wish list, deepen the nation’s debt, and inflation take risk.
The bill is also filled with bad guidelines and sloppy math. It calls for US $ 350 billion for states and localities. If you live in New York you might think this sounds about right because the pandemic has greatly exacerbated your state’s existing financial troubles. But New York is the exception. Florida didn’t even have to dive into its rainy day fund. California has a billion dollar surplus. Utah revenue grew by double digits.
found that 21 states saw revenue increases in 2020. Other states relied on funds for rainy days – what they are there for. Only a few are in dire financial straits. The same applies to cities and counties: some hurt, but the vast majority don’t. Most of the local tax revenue comes from property taxes, which are far less volatile than sales or income taxes. Sending hundreds of billions of dollars to states and localities regardless of their need is both wasteful and harmful. This would create incentives for the mismanagement that primarily put some states in tax trouble.
Extending federal supplementary unemployment benefits beyond March 14 is a good idea that should be supported by both parties. However, the Biden incentive calls for $ 400 per week checks in addition to the state checks through September. At this level the majority of the unemployed would earn more if they did not work. Employers are already complaining that they cannot find employees.
The Biden incentive provides $ 170 billion in education but has no realistic plan for reopening K-12 schools. Of the $ 80 billion that Congress has already approved for education, $ 68 billion has not yet been used by schools and universities. Amazingly, the CBO says that only 4% of K-12 spending in the Biden bill would be incurred in 2021 and that some education and labor funds would not be spent after a possible second term in Biden in 2029. If the administration is unable to meet its commitment to get students back into class for the first 100 days five days a week, the unspent money should be passed directly to students and parents to use for class to spend in open schools or on tutors, summer programs or home school efforts. We must not allow unreasonable demands from teachers’ unions to keep schools closed that are safe to reopen.
Senate Republicans will support whatever it takes to expand Covid testing, accelerate vaccine delivery, and support healthcare providers. We will also support solid support for those who have been financially depressed by the pandemic, including the loss of their jobs. One group of us proposed a $ 618 billion compromise, in line with President Biden’s proposed health and vaccine funding, expanding federal improved unemployment benefits, providing economic relief for the most vulnerable, and food finance, small business support, and more procurement resources included children safely back to school.
We are ready to negotiate a plan that will help America recover, both physically and financially, from this terrible disease. We stand ready to compromise to get the administration to step back from their ill-considered $ 1.9 trillion plan and instead provide tailored assistance. We have shown a willingness to compromise – which the President and the leaders of the Democratic Congress have not yet replied.
Mr. Romney, a Republican, is a United States Senator from Utah.
Potomac Watch: Instead of reopening the classrooms, the new president relies on the work of his predecessor. Image: Oliver Contreras / Zuma Press
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