The Washington Examiner
By Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.)
The response from President Biden and congressional Democrats to the COVID-19 crisis has been rushed, hyperpartisan, and out of touch with the real and urgent needs facing the public.
Their so-called “American Rescue Plan” is one of the largest spending packages in history, at an estimated cost of $1.9 trillion dollars. But a mere 9% of those dollars will go toward public health provisions to crush COVID-19. Biden asked Congress where we should cut the pork.
Let’s start by eliminating the handouts for Biden and Rep. Nancy Pelosi to pay off the liberal base of their caucus. For instance, there is more than $350 billion to bail out blue states that have been mismanaged, nearly $86 billion to line the pockets of special interest groups, $135 million for the National Endowment of the Arts, and $112 million to build an underground tunnel for Big Tech executives in Pelosi’s home state.
These proposals, in any COVID-19 relief package, just don’t make sense. Even a top economic adviser to former President Barack Obama said the Biden proposal is too big. It’s not targeted, transparent, or collaborative. The Biden administration and the Democratic majority have made it seem like the only way forward is a partisan bill fast-tracked through Congress. That is completely false.
Congress should be focused on creating jobs, distributing vaccines, growing the economy, and reopening schools. My Republican colleagues in the House and I have offered numerous commonsense legislative proposals to strengthen this package, including targeted funding for COVID-19 diagnostics testing, increased accountability for reporting nursing home data, and improvements for critical mental health and substance abuse programs. Democrats blocked every one of these amendments.
America needs schools reopened, vaccines distributed, and small businesses saved to recover from this pandemic. Rather than focusing on what folks really need to help weather this crisis, however, Democrats have chosen to accelerate their own radical agenda.
Democrats have also chosen to overlook the more than $1 trillion in unspent funds available from previously enacted COVID-19 relief legislation. This unspent money includes billions of dollars designated for the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses and create jobs, resources for schools to reopen, and funding for child care services.
Given the funds already out the door, at this point, we need a targeted approach to help people who need it most — not the frivolous, out-of-control spending of your hard-earned money the Democrats are all too happy to use.
At the end of the day, this package fails to address the problems at hand while exacerbating the issues facing people right now. This isn’t a bill to provide relief from the pandemic; it’s a Trojan horse for Democrats to pass their expensive and unpopular policy positions while they have the chance. A relief bill should provide relief — not create more headaches for hardworking citizens.
Rep. Drew Ferguson represents Georgia's 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ferguson is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and chief deputy whip for the House Republican Conference.