Florida Democrats like Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, and Stephanie Murphy, and State Representatives like Anna Eskamani, have been praising the monstrous $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” that was recently signed into law, as potentially being the one measure that would fix the damage done by the COVID-19 economic shutdown. And then there is the COVID stimulus pork spending.
Rep. Wasserman Schultz recently called the law “the progressive support small businesses desperately need,” while Rep. Eskamani has taken social media to highlight several issues that the stimulus addresses, like $122 billion going to help reopen the “majority of K-8 schools” and that it “that gives states the option to provide continuous Medicaid and CHIP coverage through twelve months postpartum!”
But while Democrats like Eskamani are singing the praises and pointing to programs that they believe help Americans recover from the pandemic, they won’t mention all of the non-COVID-related issues that benefit from the law President Biden just signed.
Forbes took a deep dive into the law and highlighted all of the “wish list” items congressional Republicans have said Democrats inserted into the bill as a way of keeping their donors and constituents happy.
One of those non-COVID-related items is a $25 million appropriation to Howard University, Vice President Kamala Harris’ alma mater.
Here is a list of some of those porky projects:
- $1.5 million earmarked for the Seaway International Bridge, which connects New York to Canada. Senate Leader Chuck Schumer hails from New York.
- $50 million for “family planning” – going to non-profits, i.e. Planned Parenthood, or public entities, including for “services for adolescents[.]”
- $852 million for AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Vista, and the National Senior Service Corps – the Corporation for National and Community Service – civic volunteer agencies. This includes $9 million for the AmeriCorp inspector general to conduct oversight and audits of the largess. AmeriCorps received a $1.1 billion FY2020 appropriation.
According to The Wall Street Journal editorial board, only $825 billion was Covid-19-related relief and $1 trillion was “expansions of progressive programs, pork, and unrelated policy changes.”
The Pork (Some of it)
- $200 million in the bill to The Institute of Museum and Library Services (FY2019 budget: $230 million). This agency is so small that it doesn’t even employ an inspector general.
- $270 million funds the National Endowment of the Arts and the Humanities (FY2019 budget: $253 million) – In 2017, our study showedeighty-percent of all non-profit grant making flowed to well-heeled organizations with over $1 million in assets.
- $1.5 billion for Amtrak – the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. In FY2020, Congress appropriated$3 billion for Amtrak ($2 billion in annual appropriations, plus an additional $1 billion in the CARES Act COVID relief bill). In the three years before the pandemic, AMTRAK lost $392 million – even after a $5 billion taxpayer subsidy (FY2017-FY2019).