While American workers are losing their jobs and business owners are on the cusp of being forced to close their doors forever, our politicians in Washington D.C. are continuing put their own interests above those of the country.
On Wednesday, the Senate passed a $2.2 Trillion economic relief bill to help distressed workers and businesses relieve financial pressures during these turbulent times. However, before you celebrate their good deed, look at all the pet projects they stuffed in the legislation—and they have nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic response.
Members of both parties couldn’t help themselves. They had to jam the economic relief bill with pork-barrel spending. America didn’t accumulate $22 trillion in national debt by accident. These are the kinds of spending provisions that add up over time and eventually will lead to economic ruin when it comes time to default on our obligations.
The following are a few notable examples of pork-barrel spending in the economic relief package per Politico:
“Better, Faster Sunscreen
Special deal: Tucked in the final bill is language ensuring that the FDA reviews newer and more novel ingredients for over-the-counter sunscreen products in a timely fashion.
How they got it: The shout-out for sunscreen is part of a long-awaited effort to reform the over-the-counter drug industry, added to the rescue bill amid backing from that industry and various health groups. Besides expanding FDA oversight of over-the-counter products, the provision would streamline the process to change safety labels. Legislation has passed the House and Senate in various forms over the past two years. Last year the Senate easily passed a bill in a 91-2 vote.”
This is undoubtedly useless because none of us will be getting many rays anytime soon. After all, we have been told to self-isolate in our homes.
Harbor Dredging Help
Special deal: The deal includes language making it easier for Congress to dole out money for harbor dredging by exempting from discretionary spending caps the Army Corps of Engineers funding provided through the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. The provision is a boon for ports that need dredging work, like the one in Mobile, Ala., in Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) home state.
How they got it: Prominent backers of the push include Shelby and House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). Shelby has fought repeatedly with his own party over the issue. One Republican aide called the decision “an easy give to Shelby, since he’s been wanting it for years and now why not give it to him?”
Casinos Roll the Dice and Win
Special deal: Casinos pushed for provisions to make sure they wouldn’t be blocked from federal aid. They’re allowed to apply for portions of the $350 billion in Small Business Administration loans if they’re a small business and need less than $10 million. Larger casinos can apply for $454 billion in loans backed by Treasury.
How they got it: Casinos were afraid of being excluded. The industry sought to make sure the bill didn’t include any provisions that would block MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands or its other members from getting the same help as other industries.
Free Video Visitation in Prison
Special deal: The legislation will mean free video conference and phone calls for inmates during the pandemic, if Attorney General Bill Barr agrees.
How they got it: As the pandemic spread throughout the U.S., prisons canceled normal visiting hours and closed facilities to outside visitors. And inmates typically face higher-than-usual charges for calling those outside the prison grounds, an issue that the Federal Communications Commission and some lawmakers have tried to address in the past. Last week, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) pressed the Bureau of Prisons to allow inmate phone calls and videoconferencing for free during the pandemic and touted a victory following the Senate’s passage of the relief measure.”
Once again, these people are proving they can’t be trusted with the nation’s purse string. They have been giving this power by the Constitution and they are abusing it to squander the economic prospects of future generations who will be forced to pay for their selfish, short-sighted spending. This is a bipartisan travesty, and not even a national pandemic will stop them from looting.