Foundation For Economic Education Blog | New ‘COVID’ Legislation Contains $300 Billion in Unrelated Spending, Budget Watchdog Warns | Talkmarkets
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New ‘COVID’ Legislation Contains $300 Billion in Unrelated Spending, Budget Watchdog Warns

Date: Saturday, February 20, 2021 12:03 PM EDT

More than 15% of the money allocated goes to long-standing partisan policies, including some shocking allocations that have nothing at all to do with the pandemic.

President Biden has not backed down from his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 spending proposal, and House Democrats are pushing full steam ahead on making his vision a legislative reality. But a top budget watchdog just warned that the budget-busting legislation, which costs roughly $13,260 per federal taxpayer, is full of spending that has nothing to do with the pandemic.

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“Only about 1 percent of the entire package goes toward COVID vaccines, and 5 percent is truly focused on public health needs surrounding the pandemic,” the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) warned on Wednesday.

“Meanwhile, nearly half of the package will be spent on poorly targeted rebate checks and state and local government aid, including to households and governments that have experienced little or no financial loss during this crisis,” the report continues.

Even some of the money that is ostensibly related to COVID-19, like billions intended to help schools reopen, is highly misleading. For example, as CRFB senior policy director Marc Goldwein notes, much of this money for “school reopening” is actually allocated for 2023 and 2024, long past when all schools will have reopened.

More broadly, the committee reports that at least $300 billion of the bill’s spending, 15 percent, is allocated toward long-standing policy priorities that have no direct relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The bill includes a number of other long-standing priorities, such as expanding the child tax credit and earned income tax credit, increasing Affordable Care Act subsidies, and boosting the minimum wage,” CRFB president Maya MacGuineas says. “These policies don’t belong in a COVID relief package, and should be fully offset if retained.”

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