In this episode of “Quotable Quotes from Senator John Kennedy,” the straight-talking Louisianan lawmaker took apart Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” and criticized Democrats for refusing to compromise with Republicans on bipartisan legislation, as only he can — with the kind of wry devastating humor for which he’s known.
During an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday, Kennedy first tore into Biden for reneging on his pledge to “meet Republicans halfway” in crafting a COVID relief package, choosing instead to back a “dreadful” partisan bill, which Republicans have slammed as laden with hundreds of billions of dollars in spending unrelated to COVID relief.
“President Biden said in putting together the bill, he said we want to meet you, us, the Republicans, halfway. If that’s the case he’s a damn poor judge of distance. He’s rejected everything we’ve proposed. This bill is dreadful.”
“The only way I know how to improve it is with a shredder,” Kennedy said of the bill, adding, “it’s not even a coronavirus bill.” And then the knife:
“Calling this a coronavirus bill is like calling Harvey Weinstein a feminist. It’s chock full of spending porn.
“Billions of dollars to states and local governments that have seen the revenues go up. Billions of dollars to pension programs. Billions of dollars to schools, with no requirement that they open.
“It’s an orgy of pork. And using a so-called coronavirus bill as an excuse to fund pork is like looting after a bad disaster.”
Kennedy drops mic, walks off stage.
President Biden’s $2,000,000,000,000 coronavirus bill is an orgy of pork. Calling it a coronavirus bill is like calling Harvey Weinstein a feminist. We can do better. pic.twitter.com/pm20fIyMse
— John Kennedy (@SenJohnKennedy) March 4, 2021
Nancy Pelosi’s House Democrats passed the $1.9 trillion bill in the wee hours of last Sunday morning, with only three Democrats joining all Republicans in opposition.
Here are a few details of the bill as reported by Blaze Media.
The coronavirus relief portion of the bill includes a third round of stimulus checks, this time worth up to $1,400 per individual and dependent that will begin to phase out for individuals making $75,000 and married couples earning $150,000.
The bill would expand unemployment insurance to include gig workers and workers who didn’t qualify before the pandemic, increase those payments to $400 per week, and extend unemployment insurance through Aug. 29.
Additionally, the legislation allocates $20 billion for a national vaccine program, $50 billion for virus testing, $30 billion for emergency rental assistance, $10 billion for mortgage assistance, and a new fully refundable child tax credit for 2021 that would give families that qualify $3,000 per child ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 for children under 6 years old.
But there’s more. Democrats included $350 billion in funding for state and local governments they say are facing budget shortfalls because of decreased revenue during the pandemic.
Republicans charge that this spending is “wasteful” and that these governments were under economic duress before the pandemic. They say the coronavirus should not be used as an excuse to bail out irresponsible local politicians in mostly blue states.
And Republicans are right. According to Forbes, $1.5 million was earmarked for the Seaway International Bridge, which connects Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s home state of New York to Canada. Then there was the $140 million allocated for a rail project near House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home district in San Francisco.
Both provisions were removed from the bill after the Senate parliamentarian ruled they were not allowable under the budget reconciliation rules that Senate Democrats will use to avoid a filibuster by Republicans, according to The Blaze.
Page 305 of the #COVID bill passed by Democrats provides $570 million for federal employees to stay at home if their kids aren’t going to school in person
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) March 1, 2021
Among earmarks that were not struck from the legislation, based on a Forbes audit:
- $50 million for “family planning” nonprofit organizations like Planned Parenthood
- $852 million for civic volunteer organizations AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Vista, and the National Senior Service Corps
- $470 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment of the Arts and the Humanities
- $86 billion for pension plans; $50 billion for FEMA
- $39.6 billion for colleges and universities
- $1.5 billion for Amtrak
- $128.5 billion to fund K-12 education that the CBO estimates will be paid out between 2022 and 2028 after the pandemic is over
All told, as estimated by the Wall Street Journal editorial board, of the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan,” only $825 billion was directly related to COVID-19 relief and the other $1 trillion to “expansions of progressive programs, pork, and unrelated policy changes.”
Harvey Weinstein just called.
He’s insulted over being compared to the “American Rescue Plan.”