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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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NYC bill trying to repeal ‘sanctuary city’ laws put in place by liberal Mayor Bill de Blasio

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New York lawmakers are introducing a bill this week to undo “sanctuary city” laws approved from 2014-2018 under then-Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat. Council members Robert Holden (D-Queens) and Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) told The New York Post they’ll introduce the bill Thursday.

Among the laws to be reversed include the prohibiting of the NYPD, and Correction and Probation departments from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents unless the cases involve suspected terrorists or serious public safety risks. It would also reverse rules prohibiting city agencies from partnering with ICE to enforce federal immigration laws.

“Sanctuary city laws put all New Yorkers, both immigrants and longtime residents, in danger by preventing the NYPD and DOC from working with ICE,” said Holden, a moderate Dem. “We do not need to import criminals, and only 23 years since 9/11, we have forgotten the deadly consequences of poor interagency communication. We must repeal these laws immediately.”

“Like most things in New York, sanctuary city policy is a social experiment gone off the rails,” said Borelli. “All the problems with these local laws came out during the public-hearing process, but the Council just stepped harder on the gas pedal.”

In February, Mayor Eric Adams called for the rules to be loosened so migrants “suspected” of “serious” crimes could also be turned over to ICE — as they once were under sanctuary city policies implemented as early as 1989 under ex-mayors Ed Koch and Michael Bloomberg.

Among public reasons for the push is the murder of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley.  If it wasn’t for the sanctuary city policies, Riley is among other deaths that could have been prevented if the policies were not in place, Holden and other critics have said.

The 22-year-old was found dead Feb. 22 on the University of Georgia’s campus, six months after her alleged killer Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, was arrested in Queens and charged with endangering a child.

The Post explains of the case:

The NYPD had no choice but to cut the Venezuelan-born Ibarra loose — instead of turning him over to federal immigration officials — because he didn’t have any major crime convictions.

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams shot down the mayor’s idea just one day later, saying she and the rest of the Council’s progressive Democratic majority wouldn’t be considering any rule changes. The bill introduced this week is also likely to face objections from the Council’s left-wing Democratic majority.

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