The Senate passed a $1.9 trillion aid bill on March 6 50-49. Republicans have lambasted the bill as too broad for a moment when the economy is beginning to rebound, and vaccinations are speeding along. They say that it does not prioritize getting people back to work and school.
“This isn’t a rescue bill, it isn’t a relief bill, it is a laundry list of left-wing priorities that predate the pandemic and do not meet the needs of American families,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said earlier in the debate.
Republican lawmakers have objected to the total cost of the package and what it would add to the federal deficit. They considered that the level of funding might be unnecessary with the rebounding economy.
Hundreds of billions of dollars have been allocated to states heavily in debt from overly protective COVID precautions. Murderers, rapists, prisoners, and illegal aliens are all eligible for the stimulus.
A Highly Partisan Bill
The aid bill was passed by a narrow margin in both houses, the Senate especially. The House passed the bill on a near-party-line vote, with all 210 Republicans voting against and Wisconsin Republican Tom Tiffany not voting. All Democrats except one – Maine Rep. Jared Golden – voted for the bill. In the Senate, the bill was passed 50-49 on a party-line vote. The reason the bill could be passed with a majority rather than 60 votes was because the Democrats used the budget reconciliation process. Senate Republicans were also unable to filibuster.
Allocation of Money
The Biden stimulus bill focuses on aid to individuals rather than businesses. 54% of the current stimulus is allocated to individuals with only 4% allocated to businesses. 27% is allocated to government, and 15% is allocated to another party. In comparison, Trump’s December and March 2020 bills allocated 37 and 40%, respectively, to individuals. There was a much greater margin allocated to businesses (37 and 31%), and the government got much less money (9 and 10%).
There has been $2.2 trillion set aside for aid to individuals since the start of the coronavirus crisis, with the greatest proportion being unemployment benefits and stimulus checks. The aid has also been given for health coverage, nutrition, housing, childcare, and tax credits. It also gives money to dependents of families, and it has an income cut-off.
In total, $5.3 trillion has been set aside for covid relief, with the newest bill giving a large share.
A family of four in Massachusetts in which one parent lost a job would get around $66,000 in government assistance and a single job loser in Tennessee would get around $44,000.
The bill gives mortgage and rental assistance; targeted aid to restaurant, childcare, and airline industries; funding for vaccines and testing; aid to small businesses, schools, and tribal governments; and billions of dollars to state and local governments. The bill gives free COBRA health coverage who experience a loss of group coverage due to termination or reduced hours of employment. It is a very broad-based bill indeed. A lot of special interests got included in the bill.
Stimulus Bill Too Broad: Polls
Despite Republicans in Congress being united in opposition against the bill, the Republican Party is mixed. According to a poll released by Pew Research Center, 41% of Republicans favored the bill and 57% opposed it. Overall, 70% of Americans were in favor of the package and 28% opposed it. Very few- 6%- of Democrats opposed the bill and 94% favored it. A lot of Democrats (33%) believe that the bill spends too little.
Stimulus Bill Analysis
With the economy as it is, arguably some sort of stimulus bill is needed. That said, the newest Biden stimulus is very large at $1.9 trillion. This makes up a large proportion of COVID spending- roughly 36%. Giving aid to the government and individuals over businesses can work to inhibit job growth in the economy. Many businesses have struggled or closed down. Businesses have lost customers, and they need greater relief to get back. The income cut-off means that millions of Americans will receive no money at all, but at least families have a higher income cut-off. For the $600 check, the limit is $87,000 for an individual, $124,500 for a head of household, and $174,000.
It is also problematic that almost anyone may receive the stimulus. Criminals and illegal aliens may receive it. It disproportionately favors states that enforced overly strong COVID precautions- states that enforced the lockdown for months and closed gyms, restaurants, and other places of social gathering. This inherently favors Democratic states.
Written by: Miranda Smith