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‘Chock-full of spending porn’: Sen. Kennedy slams Biden’s COVID relief bill

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Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy (R) slammed President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Wednesday, telling Fox News it is “chock-full of spending porn” unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This isn’t a coronavirus bill,” Kennedy said on the Fox News program “America’s Newsroom.” “This is a left-of-Lenin, neo-socialist wish list.”

“This is chock-full of spending porn,” he added, citing funding for transit projects, bridges, language preservation, and “billions for people who are in our country illegally.”

“I am for spending additional monies [sic] to combat the coronavirus,” said Kennedy, who’s on the Senate Budget Committee, “but this bill isn’t it.”

A large amount of the funding for the relief bill would not be spent until 2022 and after, one of the reasons the Louisiana Republican cited for his argument that Biden’s proposed COVID-19 relief bill is unrelated to the pandemic.

“The motto of the Biden administration seems to be: ‘We can’t spend too much,'” Kennedy said at another point in the interview, calling the administration’s approach “superficial” and “almost infantile.”

“Either that or the people advising President Biden have an opium habit,” he added.

“The objective is not to spend money–it’s not how much you spend, it’s what you spend it on,” Kennedy also said.

MORE ON SEN. KENNEDY: GOP, Dem senators confront Neera Tanden over ‘vicious’ personal attacks

Aspects of the bill have come under scrutiny from many Republicans and moderate Democrats, such as $1,400 stimulus checks for mixed-status families with undocumented immigrants; allowing Planned Parenthood to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds designed to keep small businesses afloat; and roughly $600 million for additional emergency paid family leave for federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers, according to a Republican Study Committee memo released Monday.

One of the things that Kennedy considered mismanaged spending was the allocation of $70 billion for K-12 school funding. Only $4 billion of the $70 billion, according to Fox News, has been spent with hundreds of billions more proposed to be sent to schools in the relief bill, which is likely not to be fully spent until 2024.

Some moderate Democrats, such as Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), have indicated they might not support the required $15 minimum wage in the bill, which throws a wrench in the Democrats’ effort to pass it with the slimmest of majorities in the Senate. For the bill to pass, all 50 Democratic senators would need to vote in favor of it and have Vice President Kamala Harris exercise her power as the tie-breaking vote.

RELATED: Sen. Sinema breaks with Democrats on $15 minimum wage

On the other side of the aisle, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) blasted the “clunker” relief bill for a third of its funds–$700 billion, according to a Congressional Budget Office report–not being spent until 2024 and the inclusion of unnecessary expenses in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday.

The bill, the Utah Republican argued, “would waste hundreds of billions of dollars, do nothing meaningful to get kids back to school, and enact policies that work against job creation.”

In response to the $15 minimum wage provision in the relief bill, Romney and Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) on Tuesday proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $10 instead, but with the caveat that businesses would be required to use the internet-based E-Verify system designed to prevent employers from hiring undocumented workers. However, it is unclear at this point if such a proposal will garner enough support.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), according to Fox News, says he expects the relief bill will be passed in the Senate by March 14.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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TX Federal Judge takes ‘extraordinary’ step to ‘fast track’ ruling on Biden’s student loan forgiveness, forego trial

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cash stimulus for coronavirus

Just The News reported on an “extraordinary move” by one Texas judge who is prepared to cancel President Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness payments.

U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman, a Trump appointee, says he is ready to decide the merits of Biden’s plan and skip the preliminary injunction and customary trial.

“U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman had been holding a hearing on a request from the small business group Job Creators Network’s legal arm on behalf of two plaintiffs to issue a preliminary injunction blocking Biden from enacting the debt relief until the legality of his executive order was decided” Just The News reports.

However, Pittman declared “in a five-sentence, one-page order that the government and plaintiff lawyers had made all the necessary arguments and that a trial would not elicit further evidence so he is ready to move to a judgement on the merits of the case.”

“Having held a hearing on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction and reviewed the related briefing, the Court intends to consolidate as it appears that the Parties have presented their case and no evidence of significance would be forthcoming at trial,” wrote Pittman.

Pittman said he was prepared to advance the preliminary objection request “to a determination on the merits” and gave the Justice Department and plaintiff lawyers until Friday to file any objections to his plan.

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