Issues & Insights

Dems Rush New COVID Bill While Feds Sit On $1.3 Trillion In Unspent Relief Funds

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I&I Editorial

‘Time is a luxury our country does not have.” That was Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer explaining why Democrats are in such a mad rush to pass a massive $1.9 trillion COVID “relief” bill.  

What Schumer, President Joe Biden and other Democrats, and the mainstream media fail to mention is that the government still hasn’t spent $1.3 trillion of the previous COVID relief funds. If the public knew that, would a majority be in favor of anything like the new Biden plan?

For those with short memories, there have been five COVID relief bills in less than a year, with total spending of $4.1 trillion – all financed by deficit spending. President Donald Trump signed the most recent bill – valued at $900 billion – just six weeks ago. Also, there have been “administrative actions” that add up to $700 billion.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has been keeping close track of the spending with its COVID Money Tracker tool, and finds that there are still $1.1 trillion from those five COVID bills that has yet to be “committed or disbursed.”

About 60% of that is from the last bill Trump signed. But there’s $195 billion left over from the CARES Act passed last March; $125 billion from the Families First Act; and $220 billion still to be spent from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which passed last April.

There’s also another $200 billion in “administrative actions” that hasn’t been spent, the tracker shows.

Looked at another way, while Biden claims that small businesses, state and local governments, teachers, and households are in desperate need, here’s how much already approved COVID relief funds still haven’t reached those groups, according to the tracker.

  • Small businesses: $530 billion
  • State/local government: $140 billion
  • Teachers: $4.6 billion
  • Households: $280 billion

On top of all this are the little-noticed actions by the Federal Reserve, which has provided $2.4 trillion in lending to support households, employers, financial markets, and state and local governments.

As Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell put it, “We are deploying these lending powers to an unprecedented extent [and] … will continue to use these powers forcefully, proactively, and aggressively until we are confident that we are solidly on the road to recovery.”

According to the money tracker, the Fed still has more than $5 trillion in funds it could put toward this effort.

All of this undercuts Democrats’ claims that a massive new spending spree is needed, much less that the need is urgent. Which is why they never mention it, and why the mainstream press never reports on this.

As we noted in this space earlier (Biden Invents An Economic Crisis To Justify His Reckless $1.9 Trillion COVID ‘Relief’), the economic argument for the $1.9 trillion bill is bogus as well, given that the economy is already well on its way to a full recovery, a recovery that would be going faster still if governments would lift pointless COVID restrictions.

Of course, we don’t know the exact details of the $1.9 trillion plan – we just have the broad outlines – because congressional Democrats haven’t filled in any of them yet. But what we already know is that it is little more than a leftist wish list of spending items: bailouts for profligate blue states, vast new programs to redistribute money and increase dependency on the federal government, a possible minimum-wage hike, and more.

One thing you can be sure of, the bulk of the money won’t get spent until long after the current crisis has ended.

Democrats can’t help themselves. They see an opportunity to vastly – and permanently – expand the size and scope of the federal government, and they’re going to take it.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

3 comments

  • The reason for government is to raise money and set priorities for spending the monies raised. As Barack Obama used to say to Republicans disappointed with his priorities when he was president: ‘Elections have consequences and I won’. I urge all voters in high dudgeon over President Biden’s priorities to continue their crusade for what they believe right, but to acknowledge that they lost the opportunity to set priorities from the Oval Office when Trump lost. Democratic primary voters made their priorities known when they chose Slow Joe and American voters made theirs known by choosing him.

    Now that this primer of American democracy is over, let’s strip Democratic pretense about the poor, about children, about voter suppression and all else holy to liberals to the bare bones of the party and acknowledge that all the highfalutin talk is political folderol. What Democrats want is the power to set their priorities and Democratic priorities are all about control of the poor saps who put noses to the grindstone, preferably the union grindstone, so that taxes can be raised as high as possible and regulations increased because, well, liberals are smarter and more wholesome than all others and deserve to control us. Freedom is not authorized if it doesn’t have the Democratic imprimatur, nor is culture or even our history. So much for fair play and reasonableness.

  • Lefites just want the publicity that comes with promoting big spending bills. In one regard it makes little difference what it is for nor whether it is ever used. All they want is the talking points. For them spending money is their standard answer for every situation. They are a pathic bunch of people.

  • They stole the election, why shouldn’t they steal the last value of the currency and everyone’s daily blood, sweat, and tears wages?

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