Issue: H.R. 266, Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Originally, a 2019 Interior & Environment appropriations bill, but used in the Senate as the vehicle, thru amendment by voice vote, to provide another round of COVID-19 aid. Question: On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Concur in the Senate Amendment (2/3 Vote Required).
Result: House passed 388 to 5, 35 not voting. Senate had earlier (4/21) amended H.R.266 by voice vote. Became Public Law 116-139 (signed by the President, 4-24-20). GOP only scored.
Freedom First Society: This fourth COVID-19 response measure spends nearly $500 billion the federal government does not have. The objects of the spending are largely unconstitutional and ineffective. Yet few politicians could stand up to the media hype and bipartisan political grandstanding.
We give blue check marks to the four GOP representatives who voted against this measure, which was overwhelmingly supported by the Democrats (only one Democrat voted no — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who argued that the bill didn’t go far enough and that a planned fifth bill, CARES 2, was still in doubt).
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: The Senate-amended H.R. 266 has two divisions: Division A for Small Business Loans (the Paycheck Protection Program) and Division B Additional Emergency Appropriations for Coronavirus Response (supplemental appropriations.) See below for the complete Congressional Services Research Summary.
Analysis: This is the fourth COVID-19 response measure, spending a massive, nearly $500 billion the federal government doesn’t have.
Note: The even more massive third measure (H.R. 748, the CARES Act) spent $2 trillion (see Senate Vote 80, 3-25-20). Incredibly, the CARES Act was approved by the House by voice (unrecorded) vote.
Moreover, this fourth response is regarded by both Parties as only an interim-response, while they negotiate another aid measure.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”).
One of the four dissenting GOP representatives, Andy Biggs from Arizona, was given one minute during the floor “debate” to registered his concerns:
Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding. The current bill provides $12 billion to jurisdictions that specifically authorize and encourage the use of surveillance and contact tracing. The bill does not define these terms. Does it allow big tech companies to surveil and trace American citizens and then turn that accumulated information over to the government? How will this data be secured, stored, et cetera? There are many questions that go unanswered. Not the least of these, however, is the question of how much longer the American people acquiesce to unconstitutional and crushing government action. We need to open up America now. I call on our Governors to free their citizens immediately.
Congressional Research Services Summary:
House agreed to Senate amendment (04/23/2020)
Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
This bill responds to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak by providing additional funding for small business loans, health care providers, and COVID-19 testing.
DIVISION A–SMALL BUSINESS PROGRAMS
(Sec. 101) This division provides additional lending authority for certain Small Business Administration (SBA) programs in response to COVID-19.
Specifically, the division increases the authority for (1) the Paycheck Protection Program, under which the SBA may guarantee certain loans to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic; and (2) advances on emergency economic injury disaster loans made in response to COVID-19. The division also expands eligibility for such disaster loans and advances to include agricultural enterprises.
Additionally, the division requires the SBA to guarantee no less than a specified amount of paycheck protection loans made by certain insured depository institutions, community financial institutions, and credit unions.
(Sec. 102) The amounts provided under this division are designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 (PAYGO) and the Senate PAYGO rule.
DIVISION B–ADDITIONAL EMERGENCY APPROPRIATIONS FOR CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE
Additional Emergency Appropriations for Coronavirus Response
This division provides FY2020 supplemental appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the SBA in response to COVID-19.
The supplemental appropriations are designated as emergency spending, which is exempt from discretionary spending limits.
TITLE I–DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
This title provides $100 billion in FY2020 supplemental appropriations to HHS for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, including
- $75 billion to reimburse health care providers for health care related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to the coronavirus outbreak; and
- $25 billion for expenses to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer, and expand capacity for COVID-19 tests to effectively monitor and suppress COVID-19.
The title allocates specified portions of the $25 billion for COVID-19 testing to
- states, localities, territories, and tribes;
- the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention;
- the National Institutes of Health;
- the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority;
- the Food and Drug Administration;
- community health centers;
- rural health clinics; and
- testing for the uninsured.
The title also establishes several reporting requirements for HHS, including requirements to submit to Congress details regarding COVID-19 cases and a strategic testing plan
(Sec. 101) This section specifies that certain authorities, conditions, and requirements included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act apply to the funds provided by this division to HHS.
(Sec. 102) This section sets forth authorities and restrictions that apply to transferring funds provided by this title.
(Sec. 103) This section requires specified funds provided by this title for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to be transferred to the HHS Office of Inspector General for oversight of activities supported with funds appropriated to HHS to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
TITLE II–INDEPENDENT AGENCIES
This title provides FY2020 supplemental appropriations to the SBA, including
- $2.1 billion for salaries and expenses to administer programs related to COVID-19,
- $50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and
- $10 billion for Emergency EIDL grants.
TITLE III–GENERAL PROVISIONS–THIS ACT
(Sec. 301) This section specifies that the funds provided by this division are in addition to funds otherwise appropriated for the fiscal year involved.
(Sec. 302) Funds provided by this division may not remain available beyond the current fiscal year, unless this division provides otherwise.
(Sec. 303) Unless otherwise specified by this division, the funds provided by this division are subject to the authorities and conditions that apply to the applicable appropriations account for FY2020.
(Sec. 304) This section specifies that certain funds provided or transferred by this division may only be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
(Sec. 305) For the purposes of this division, the term coronavirus means SARS-CoV-2 or another coronavirus with pandemic potential.
(Sec. 306) This section provides that amounts designated by this division as emergency requirements are only available (or rescinded, if applicable) if the President subsequently designates the amounts and transmits the designations to Congress.
(Sec. 307) This section specifies that the emergency funds that are transferred pursuant to this division retain the emergency designation.
(Sec. 308) This section exempts the budgetary effects of this division from the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 (PAYGO), (2) the Senate PAYGO rule, and (3) certain budget scorekeeping rules.