Huge spending package sends billions in taxpayer money to foreign countries
As many Americans eagerly await much-needed relief money from the government stimulus package amid crushing COVID-19 lockdowns, the Democrats’ latest spending bill seeks to spend billions in taxpayer money on radical foreign aid.
While many hard-working taxpayers are struggling after being stripped of their livelihoods, the latest $2.3 trillion spending bill unveiled Monday includes cash for “gender programs” in Pakistan and “ship refurbishments” in Sri Lanka.
The 5,593-page budget-busting “coronavirus relief” bill was posted online Monday afternoon.
It was revealed only hours before Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a vote would be held, giving lawmakers just six hours to read it before voting.
The House passed the $900 billion coronavirus relief package and lawmakers tacked on a $1.4 trillion catchall spending bill prior to the Christmas holiday.
The package will send a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses, restaurants, and theaters.
For some countries, however, Christmas may be about to come early:
- $169,739,000 to Vietnam, including $19 million to remediate dioxins (page 1476).
- Unspecified funds to “continue support for not-for-profit institutions of higher education in Kabul, Afghanistan that are accessible to both women and men in a coeducational environment” (page 1477).
- $198,323,000 to Bangladesh, including $23.5 million to support Burmese refugees and $23.3 million for “democracy programs” (page 1485).
- $130,265,000 to Nepal for “development and democracy programs” (page 1485).
- Pakistan: $15 million for “democracy programs” and $10 million for “gender programs” (page 1486).
- Sri Lanka: Up to $15 million “for the refurbishing of a high endurance cutter,” which is a type of patrol boat (page 1489).
- $505,925,000 to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama to “address key factors that contribute to the migration of unaccompanied, undocumented minors to the United States” (pages 1490-1491).
- $461,375,000 to Colombia for programs related to counternarcotics and human rights (pages 1494-1496).
- $74.8 million to the “Caribbean Basin Security Initiative” (page 1498).
- $33 million “for democracy programs for Venezuela” (page 1498).
- Unspecified amount to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago “for assistance for communities in countries supporting or otherwise impacted by refugees from Venezuela” (page 1499).
- $132,025,000 “for assistance for Georgia” (page 1499).
- $453 million “for assistance for Ukraine” (page 1500).
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) slammed the bill before the details even emerged:
We still don’t have text yet for this massive spending bill, and we’ll likely be expected to vote on it later today.
Just another bill we have to pass before the American people discover all the goodies that special interests jammed into it over the past week. https://t.co/l2A6ygSEPF
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) December 21, 2020
“Just another bill we have to pass before the American people discover all the goodies that special interests jammed into it over the past week,” he wrote.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) addressed the Senate Monday afternoon as his colleagues prepared to vote on the bill.
The senator told his fellow Republicans who backed the stimulus that they are no better than the Democrats they criticize who align themselves with socialism.
“To so-called conservatives who are quick to identify the socialism of Democrats: If you vote for this spending monstrosity, you are no better,” Paul said.
Video of Paul’s comments quickly went viral across social media as many Americans appeared to agree with his sentiments.
“If free money was the answer… if money really did grow on trees, why not give more free money?” Sen. Paul said.
“Why not give it out all the time? Why stop at $600 a person? Why not $1,000? Why not $2,000?
“Maybe these new Free-Money Republicans should join the Everybody-Gets-A-Guaranteed-Income Caucus?
“Why not $20,000 a year for everybody, why not $30,000?
“If we can print out money with impunity, why not do it?”
The Senate later aligned with the House and passed the COVID-19 relief package and government funding plan.
The vote was 91-6, and members needed 60 votes to pass the bill since it skipped several parliamentary steps, Fox News’ Chad Pergram reported.
A) Ok. So the Senate approved a big $1.4 trillion, omnibus spending bill before midnight et to avoid a shutdown right? And they latched that to the coronavirus package, right?
Well, that’s not actually the pact which will fund the governmemt for the next week.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) December 22, 2020
The other five who voted against the package were Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Ron Johnson (R-WI).
Cruz tweeted earlier that it is “ABSURD” to have “a $2.5 trillion spending bill negotiated in secret and then—hours later—demand an up-or-down vote on a bill nobody has had time to read.”
Paul targeted his own colleagues who voted for the bill and said, “When you vote to pass out free money, you lose your soul and you abandon forever any semblance of moral or fiscal integrity.”
The House voted 359-53 in favor of the relief bill.
The bill combines coronavirus-fighting funds with financial relief for individuals and businesses.
The 5,593-page legislation — by far the longest bill ever — came together Sunday after months of battling.
Speaker Pelosi refuses to reveal why she rejected a larger stimulus package from President Trump before the election.