Stanford economist Paul Romer once stated "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste," and the 116th Congress apparently thinks so too.
Politicians just passed a stunning $2.3 trillion catch-all spending bill, including $900 billion in COVID relief which they claimed was intended to help individual Americans and shore up small businesses.
But it also contains hundreds of millions of dollars in pork-barrel spending. So now your tax dollars will be given to foreign countries and spent on items like helping remind Americans not to store gasoline near an open flame, and gender diversity for statues.
Here's a small list of the pork that was added to the COVID relief bill's more than 5,000 pages:
- Water resources in Tibet. $1 million allocated for the next four years, $8 million per year for the next four years for Tibetan refugees, along with $4 million for the Tibetan government.
- Gender programs in Pakistan - $10 million allocated.
- Funding to address "gender inequality" among statutes.
- $193 million for HIV/AIDS workers so they can buy official vehicles and pay the insurance on those vehicles.
- Climate change is mentioned throughout the bill, which calls for the creation of a "Climate Security Advisory Council."
- Invasive Species. Congress allocated $130,000,000 for species assessment, mitigation and reductions.
The bill also creates a commission to educate "consumers about the dangers associated with using or storing portable fuel containers for flammable liquids near an open flame."
Last May, when the first COVID-19 stimulus relief was signed into law, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts received $25 million in funding. This amount was scoffed at in many circles, including social media, which gave rise to the meme: "We need ventilators! People are dying!!! Quick, let's fund the Kennedy Center!"
In the most recent bill, the arts are not left out either. This COVID relief bill allocates $40 million for the Kennedy Center alone.
And it doesn't stop there. Millions of dollars will be given to other countries, including Sudan which is slated to receive $700 million.
The stimulus proposes giving $700,000,000 to Sudan. No, really. pic.twitter.com/JVPTqXtonS
— Tim Tierney (@Timmy_Tierney) December 21, 2020
Six Republican senators voted against the COVID relief bill. They included Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
On Twitter, Sen. Blackburn explained to her constituents why she voted "no" on this bill.
"Since July, Senate Republicans have been working to provide the American people with targeted economic relief in the face of the COVID pandemic. Congressional Democrats fought us every inch of the way, and held this relief hostage as they pressed for over $3 trillion in special interest giveaways. They admittedly used a pandemic to push a socialistic agenda," Blackburn wrote.
"The legislation passed yesterday will support vaccine development and distribution, assist schools and universities, and provide crucial help to Tennessee small businesses. However, I cannot support nearly $2.4 trillion in spending that will make recovery even harder. I have serious concerns with provisions buried in the 5,593-page bill, such as expanded visas, Pell grants for prisoners, and households with illegal aliens receiving economic impact payments. For these reasons, I voted no on passage of this legislation," she concluded.
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