Issue: H.R. 748, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act. (As amended. The Senate coopted H.R. 748 as a vehicle. Originally H.R. 748 was the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019). Question: On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 748, As Amended) (3/5 vote required).
Result: Passed in Senate, 96 to 0. Two days later (3-27-20), the House approved the amended Senate version by voice vote. Became Public Law 116-136 (signed by the President, 3-27-20). GOP and Democrats scored.
Freedom First Society: With the CARES Act, the Federal government spends an incredible $2 trillion it does not have. Many of the objects of this spending are unconstitutional. The spending comprises two broad general areas: 1) Relief from the government-instituted shutdowns and lockdowns and 2) Aid for the COVID-19 response itself. By far the greater portion — the relief — will ultimately be ineffective. Prosperity requires production and a Federal Reserve-inflated money supply is no substitute.
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We give red x’s to the 96 senators who voted for this measure. No Senator voted AGAINST the CARES Act. However, four GOP senators were not present for the vote: Mike Lee (UT), Rand Paul (KY), Mitt Romney (UT), and John Thune (SD).
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Bill Summary: From The Hill (3-25-20): “White House, Senate reach deal on $2 trillion stimulus package”:
The White House and Senate leaders reached a deal early Wednesday morning on a massive stimulus package they hope will keep the nation from falling into a deep recession because of the coronavirus crisis.
The revamped Senate proposal will inject approximately $2 trillion into the economy, providing tax rebates, four months expanded unemployment benefits and a slew of business tax-relief provisions aimed at shoring up individual, family and business finances.
The deal includes $500 billion for a major corporate liquidity program through the Federal Reserve, $367 billion for a small business loan program, $100 billion for hospitals and $150 billion for state and local governments.
It will also give a one-time check of $1,200 to Americans who make up to $75,000. Individuals with no or little tax liability would receive the same amount, unlike the initial GOP proposal that would have given them a minimum of $600.
Analysis: The Senate voted on the massive CARES Act, before even all of the language had been drafted. Undoubtedly, many of the senators and their staff only understood the touted features of the Act.
And so, the Senate debate barely touched on the details. But in news reports, leaders of both parties were pleased to tout this bipartisan agreement. In particular we heard how they were proud to be spending unprecedented sums of Federal Reserve-created money to deal with an economic crisis that government itself had created. Roll Call (3-25-50) reported:
“It’s good news for families all across America,” McConnell says….
“After five days of arduous negotiations … we have a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in American history,” added Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-NY.
It is infuriating that politicians think they can get away with hoaxing the public that the federal government can spend as much as it wants with no consequences.
While the Federal government may appear to have deep pockets, due to the Federal Reserve’s control of the money supply, that is an illusion. Government has no wealth of its own. It can only spend the wealth of Americans.
Financing deficit-spending thru the federal reserve is just a less obvious means of taxation by debauching the currency. The initial recipients of the money may benefit, but at the expense of those who see the value of their fixed assets decline.
Creating the Poison and the “Antidote”
It is also infuriating that government has created the poison (the government-forced recession and massive unemployment from the lockdowns and shutdowns) and is now ostensibly coming to the rescue with its version of a big-government antidote.
But check-book money is no substitute for production. Prosperity requires production.
We could also mention that most of this spending is unconstitutional, despite its common acceptance in recent decades. The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to bail out businesses, provide gifts to individuals, subsidize and manage health care, or prop up state governments.
Note: The states have become dependent on federal handouts, because the federal government has looted much of the tax base upon which states could rely.
A Hidden Agenda
Even worse is the hidden motive for the imposed financial crisis. It is difficult to believe that a government that puts us in plastic cars and has created the abortion holocaust really cares about our health and safety.
The well established, but hidden motive of those driving the crisis is to gain more unaccountable power over the people. Posts on the Freedom First Society website, examine the supporting crises in detail. In particular, see “Where’s the Data, Dr. Fauci?”
Instead of embracing the stampede to bankrupt the nation, a Congress genuinely trying to serve the people should have questioned the necessity of quarantining the general population that was not infected. Several other nations handled the epidemic quite differently and successfully (see, for example, the Freedom First Society post: “Three COVID-19 Counterexamples: Taiwan, Singapore, and Sweden”).
House Voice Vote
Incredibly, 2 days later, after three-hours of breast-beating “debate,” the House approved the Senate version by (unrecorded) voice vote since many of its members were not present. Indeed, the following statements regarding the House vote were posted on Congress.gov:
OBJECTION TO VOTE – At the conclusion of debate on the motion to concur in the Senate amendment to H.R. 748, the Chair put the question on the motion and by voice vote, announced that the ayes had prevailed. Mr. Massie demanded a recorded vote, and the Chair determined that an insufficient number of Members having arisen, the demand for a recorded vote was refused. Mr. Massie made a point of order that a quorum was not present and the Chair counted for a quorum. Subsequently, the Chair announced that a quorum was present.
And on March 31, after H.R. 748 had been signed into law, the following was posted on Congress.gov:
POSITION STATEMENTS FOR THE RECORD — The Chair announced that all Members may have five legislative days in which to include their stated position on the voice vote on the motion to concur in the Senate amendment to H.R. 748, and those statements will appear in the appropriate point in the Record. Agreed to without objection.