Madness is trying to find details of anything our government does. There’s nothing significant going on in the U.S. government right now, right? Nothing but the most expensive spending bill in world history!
As you know, late Wednesday evening, the Senate passed a version of the Stimulus bill that, fortunately, did NOT include very many of the government multi-billion dollar pork Christmas presents House Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats demanded to be included. If you missed those, look back on our published story on 3/25 that contained in a bullet-point format a summary of those: “CURE THE DISEASE!”
And if you’re a speed reader or someone who loves to hit yourself in the head a few dozen times because you have nothing better to do, put down the hammer and read the 888 Senate bill passed Wednesday.
If you, like most of us, prefer a synopsis of something this intense and detailed, here’s a 35-page “roundup” of the hot details of the CARES Act — what the Coronavirus relief bill has been named. Feel free to download a section by section synopsis here:
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Congress is good at one thing: spending taxpayer dollars — those we have or that are coming soon in the way of taxes plus the dollars we don’t have and must borrow because we’re spending them before we get them.
- Democrats LOVE bigger and more controlling government. To that end, somewhere in every financially related bill that Dems put forth that ever gets signed into law is some “thing” or “things” devised strictly to increase the government’s size and authority through unsustainable spending.
- Nancy Pelosi IS the most influential person in American politics today. No one else — even President Trump — can even remotely compare to her. The Senate bill awaiting House approval verifies how strong she is.
- Americans are petrified of the unknowns of COVID-19 and are frightened at its devastation playing out now not just in the disease but in its daunting future unknown costs on Americans. And Congress brilliantly parlays those fears into trillions of dollars THEY control and spend.
- Though many will say Senate Republicans bested Pelosi by allowing just a few of her outrageous spending demands from HER bill, quietly and with no fanfare Pelosi will come away with a victory when the House passes this bill and President Trump signs it. And every Republican — including the President — knows it.
- The fact that Pelosi, along with every other Congressional Democrat, held this bill up for a week in the face of more people dying, millions losing jobs. At the same time, small companies close their doors and school students out of school stand hoping for a bus with their lunch proves how much disdain there is for America’s working people among Democrats. Let’s take a short pause! I need to catch my breath. Just for grins, take a listen to the “new” version of Margarittille fondly titled “Coronaville.” You’ll get a cute giggle or two. (It’s just a couple of minutes.
I thought with your pursuits of toilet paper; you might enjoy a bit of humor from someone who is “sharing the joy” with all of us!
Any Goodies — REAL Goodies in the CARES Act?
Yes, there are.
Most of us in the South are Pro-Life. I am personally unabashedly Pro-Life. I’ve never stated that here, but now you know. I feel strongly that aborting a baby is killing a human being — period. Someone mentioned to me the other day that if we could prolong the social distancing a bit and a shutdown of non-essential services for two weeks, (that include operations of abortion clinics) we could stop the killing during that two weeks of more humans than Coronavirus will kill in the entire world.
Think about that.
Congressman Mike Johnson (R-LA) just passed this along to me for you. This is a segment inserted in the Senate Republican CARES Act regarding tax dollars paying for abortions:
- Planned Parenthood Exclusion from Small Business Loan Assistance: The bill applies the Small Business Administration’s affiliation rules to nonprofits for purposes of small business assistance (loans and forgiveness for payroll costs), but includes a provision that disqualifies Planned Parenthood– whose affiliates, taken together, have around 16,000 employees nationwide — based on the 500 employee threshold for nonprofits.
- Hyde Amendment Protections: On the Supplemental Appropriations, applies FY2020 Labor HHS’s terms and conditions, including the Hyde Amendment (prohibiting funds for elective abortion and elective abortion coverage), to new supplemental discretionary health funding in Division B, including $100 billion for hospitals and other health care providers determined by the HHS Secretary that provide diagnoses, testing or care for COVID-19.
- Supplemental Awards for Health Centers: Applies the Hyde Amendment by cross-reference to a $1.32 billion plus-up in mandatory funding for health centers.
- Community Health Center Fund: Applies the Hyde Amendment by cross-reference to the extension of mandatory funding for community health centers, the National Health Service Corps, and Graduate Teaching Health Centers
- Coronavirus Relief Fund: Applies the Hyde Amendment by cross-reference to the new $150 billion in mandatory funding for the coronavirus relief fund for states.
In other words, the Democrat House plan included methods to sidetrack the Hyde Amendment through the funding of abortions, not directly to Planned Parenthood, but to several of their affiliates. Senate Republicans made sure Democrat language proposed by Pelosi did NOT make it into the CARE Act. (How many babies will that save?)
The ‘Bad’ Stuff
(Just a note here: the writers of the bill have included a “qualifying” phrase in their spending lingo to expressly point to coronavirus as the “sole” reason for the spending: “…to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, for necessary expenses related to providing support for and access to…..” Make what you will with that phrase. To me, it means “This is what we’re spending in this department in addition to what we are already spending. This amount is only for coronavirus.”
While none of the following are technically “pork,” it is safe to say, “I think this is crazy and superfluous spending on the part of our government!”
Dept. of Agriculture
- $258,000,000 for broadband services in rural areas
- $32,615,098,000 for “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” for Child Nutrition
- $100,000,000 for administrative expenses and $50,000,000 for additional food costs for Food Distribution on Indian Reservations
Dept. of Commerce
- $2,000,000,000 for “Economic Development Assistance Programs” to be used “for necessary expenses related to responding to economic injury as a result of coronavirus.”
Dept. of Justice
- $100,000,000 for nat’l criminal justice operations;
- $500,000,000 for state and local criminal justice operations;
- $100,000,000 for juvenile criminal justice operations
National Science Foundation
- $100,000,000 for “Research related activities,” $2,000,000 for “Agency operations and Award Management.”
Legal Services Corporation
- $100,000,000 to “carry out the purposes of the Legal Services Corporation.”
Dept. of Defense
- $3,805,500,000 for “research, development, test and evaluation.”
Dept. of the Treasury
- $6,000,000 for increased salaries for Courts of Appeals
- $500,000 for increased salaries for Supreme Court
- $11,000,000 for “Emergency Planning and Security Costs in D.C.”
- $4,000,000,000 for “Election Assistance Commission to states for contingency planning, preparation, and resilience of elections.”
- $200,000,000 for “Salaries and Expenses” — basically pay raises — for the FCC
- $3,000,000,000 for the “Technology and Modernization Fund of the General Services Administration (GSA)
- $12,100,000 for salary increases for the Office of Personnel Management
- $100,000,000,000 for SBA Business Stabilization Loan Programs
- $100,000,000,000 for the “Relief of Small Businesses Act.”
- $100,000,000,000 for “Small Business Act” for “economic recovery grants.
- $25,739,000,000 for “Disaster Loans Program Account”
- $16,800,000,000 for the cost of “loan debt relief.”
- $805,000,000 for “Salaries and Expenses” for the “Small Businesses Act.”
- $20,000,000,000 for US Postal Service for “an emergency requirement under the Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.”
- $2,000,000,000 for the “Disaster Relief Fund”
Repeat Disclaimer: all of this funding is “in addition to” other budgeted monies already in use by each of these departments.
The two big Pelosi pork projects that did not get negotiated out of the bill are the John F. Theater and a Union funding provision. The original Pelosi funding clause in the House bill was for $35,000,000. In the Senate version, it was cut to $25,000,000. Yes, I agree: $25,000,000 for a theater is atrocious. Just think of the full scholarships this could fund for underprivileged children. 250 American students could enter great colleges with fully-funded $100,000 scholarships with that JFK money!
The second is a Pelosi “favor called-in” by labor unions. The CARES Act is full of loans and grants for businesses. The applicable provision is to prevent any company that under the CARES Act receives either federal grants or loans, cannot deter Unions from approaching their employees regarding unionizing those companies.
Yes, these both are dumb. And, yes, they will cost Americans far more than just their face value. But this is how the U.S. government operates. It’s full of attorneys who draft laws. And they do that for the most part to favor someone in every law.
Most in Congress reconcile this nasty and tasteless task as merely “giving up whatever it takes to get whatever I need or want.” Quid pro quo.
Are we done yet? Short of a grandstand play on the House floor today, we’re done. I am confident the President will sign the CARES Act into law on either Saturday or Sunday.
Meanwhile: COVID-19 relentlessly attacks Americans with a vengeance. What are we going to do? How long will it last? How many will die? We’ll waltz back into that fray on Saturday.
Know one thing: Coronavirus is NOT through yet!