Jim Banks: Coronavirus Bill Loaded with ‘Special Interest Pork,’ Liberal Goodies

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 08: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) pose for photographs after delivering a televised response to President Donald Trump's national address about border security at the U.S. Capitol January 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. Republicans and Democrats seem …
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Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), wrote in a memo to RSC members Monday that the Democrats’ coronavirus bill is stuffed with “special interest pork and other liberal goodies.”

Republicans across the political spectrum have sounded the alarm over the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill, including Banks and House Budget Committee ranking member Jason Smith (R-MO).

For instance, during a hearing in February, Smith noted that only nine percent of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill goes towards vaccinations.

“Democrats are rushing to pass a nearly $2 trillion spending bill that will enact bailouts for state governments that lock down their citizens and radical policies that will destroy jobs and raise the cost of living for working-class Americans,” Smith said in a statement to Fox News on Sunday.

“But this is clearly where any sort of urgency on their part ends,” he added.

“This is all just further proof that COVID-19 is more the pretext than the purpose behind what Democrats are proposing. Their approach is the wrong plan, at the wrong time, for all the wrong reasons,” the Missouri conservative added.

In his letter to RSC members, Banks wrote that Democrats have been hoping the public has been too preoccupied on the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump to notice the Democrat majority in Congress loaded the bill with leftist carveouts.

He said the Democrat coronavirus bill is filled with “special interest pork and other liberal goodies.”

In Banks’ memo to RSC members, he noted the many ways the Democrat coronavirus bill contains leftist carveouts, including:

  • Institutes a $15 per hour minimum wage, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) contended would result in 1.4 million job losses.
  • Unemployment benefits would rise to $400 per week on top of regular payments. This would last for up to roughly a year and a half. The RSC contended that, under the plan, over half of Americans would get a raise for being unemployed, meaning that this might hurt employment.
  • Democrats blocked an amendment that would ensure that federal benefits from COBRA health insurance are not used for abortion services.
  • Stimulus checks could go to families in which a parent is an illegal alien.
  • Allows subsidies for COBRA premiums to go to illegal immigrants.
  • “Unconscionably” gives labor unions, including teachers unions that are fighting against school reopenings, access to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding up to $10 million per union.
  • Allows funding to go to colleges that have partnerships with owned or controlled companies by communist China. Democrats rejected a Republican proposal to fix this.
  • Allows funding to go to colleges and universities that have partnerships with Confuscious Institutes.
  • Provides $1.5 billion to Amtrak, even though the transportation company is sitting on “roughly $1 billion of unspent aid.”
  • Provides a $350 billion bailout for state and local government despite limited declines in overall revenue in 2020.
  • Eliminates the income restriction that prevented wealthy Americans from qualifying for the Obamacare premium subsidies.
  • Expands eligibility for PPP funding for large nonprofits, labor unions, country clubs, and publicly-traded internet news organizations. Banks contended that this would crowd out small businesses’ access to PPP loans.
  • Provide $50 million in funding for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) environmental justice grants, which the RSC believes is a “thinly-veiled kickback” to leftist environmental groups.
  • Extends PPP funding to violent criminals, including those who have been found guilty of assault on a police officer and consensual sexual crimes.
  • Grants $800 million in additional foreign food aid.

Smith told Axios Sunday the coronavirus bill amounts to a “Biden bailout bill.”

“Instead of stimulus, I call it for what it is — the Biden bailout bill. It’s an abusive process and a lot of reckless spending,” he said.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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