Freedom First Society

Issue: H.R. 1319, American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.  Question:  On Passage of the Bill (H.R 1319, As Amended).

Result:  Passed in Senate, 50 to 49, 1 not voting.  (Amended Senate Version subsequently accepted  by the House, Roll Call 72, 3-10-21).  Became Public Law No. 117-2 (signed by the President, 3-11-21). Democrats only scored.

Freedom First Society:  With H.R. 1319, Congress spent $1.9 trillion it did not have ostensibly to “rescue” Americans from the effects of government-caused shutdowns needed to fight COVID-19.  It’s a huge scam in many ways.

The final version that became law was amended in the Senate with President Biden’s support and the subsequent approval by the House (House Roll Call 72, 3-10-21).   In order to get passed the Senate’s 60 vote rule to stop a filibuster, Democrats used a budget reconciliation process, which permitted the bill to pass with on 50 senators supporting.

We oppose this economic monstrosity that won’t rescue the American people from government’s policies stifling productivity, as well as its underlying scam.   We do not score the 49 GOP senators who had an easy “nay” vote.

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 (Congressional Research Service): 
Shown Here:  Passed Senate (03/06/2021)
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
This bill provides additional relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses.

Specifically, the bill provides funding for

  • agriculture and nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program);
  • schools and institutions of higher education;
  • child care and programs for older Americans and their families;
  • COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, treatment, and prevention;
  • mental health and substance-use disorder services;
  • emergency rental assistance, homeowner assistance, and other housing programs;
  • payments to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments for economic relief;
  • multiemployer pension plans;
  • small business assistance, including specific programs for restaurants and live venues;
  • programs for health care workers, transportation workers, federal employees, veterans, and other targeted populations;
  • international and humanitarian responses;
  • tribal government services;
  • scientific research and development;
  • state, territorial, and tribal capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to COVID-19; and
  • health care providers in rural areas.

The bill also includes provisions that

  • extend unemployment benefits and related services;
  • make up to $10,200 of 2020 unemployment compensation tax-free;
  • make student loan forgiveness tax-free through 2025;
  • provide a maximum recovery rebate of $1,400 per eligible individual;
  • expand and otherwise modify certain tax credits, including the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit;
  • provide premium assistance for certain health insurance coverage; and
  • require coverage, without cost-sharing, of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Analysis (FFS):  As is evident from the CRS Summary above, the number of government programs packed into this so-called relief measure was enormous.  Aside from its bad economics, much is a continuation of federal programs not authorized in the Constitution.  It’s unfortunate that many Americans no longer understand the hook in phony socialist programs designed to appeal to shallow humanitarianism.

The Senate parliamentarian  ruled that a proposed $15 minimum wage increase could not be included as part of reconciliation, so it was deleted in the amended Senate version.  Indicative of the political demagoguery coming out of Washington, “Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., said on Twitter that she was ‘disgusted’ with some of her colleagues for the Senate changes, including the removal of a $15 minimum wage increase that was pulled after the Senate parliamentarian determined it violated that chamber’s rules.

‘What is the Party of the People doing when instead of putting our full effort into helping struggling working families, we’re arguing over ways to toss them aside?’ she wrote.” — Roll Call, 3-6-21

The fallacy in Watson’s rhetoric should be apparent after a moment’s reflection.  If government can simply create prosperity by dispensing money and regulation, why not give everybody $1 million so we can all live comfortably without working?

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