Rep. Austin Scott Statement on House Passage of Partisan “COVID Relief” Legislation
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08) released the below statement upon the House passing the partisan American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319). Included in the package - being billed as COVID-19 relief by House Democrats - are numerous, multi-billion-dollar provisions for projects and programs not associated with the pandemic or COVID-19 recovery.
“Only 9% of spending in Speaker Pelosi’s so-called ‘COVID relief package’ is dedicated to health spending. More than 90% of the package is non-COVID spending and includes funding for things like an underground tunnel in Silicon Valley and a bridge connecting New York and Canada. The bill that passed the House is nothing more than a partisan wish list, and they should be ashamed for selling it to the American people as COVID relief,” said Rep. Scott. “House Democrats also conveniently seem to forget that there is still one trillion dollars unspent from previous COVID-19 relief bills. We should be focusing on responsibly spending the resources already allocated for COVID relief rather than passing a $1.9 trillion spending package full of progressive pet projects.”
Unlike the previous five COVID-19 relief bills, H.R. 1319 was drafted along partisan lines and includes resources for several partisan priorities. Some of these provisions include:
- $350 billion to bail out bankrupt blue states and cities
- $86 billion for pension bailouts
- $35 billion for Affordable Care Act bailouts
- $140 million for a subway in Silicon Valley
- $135 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities
- $1.5 million for a bridge from New York to Canada
- $15 minimum wage mandate (that is estimated to cost 1.4 million jobs)
Before the vote on the House Floor, Rep. Scott offered two amendments in the House Rules Committee to cut through partisanship in the agriculture sections of the bill. His amendments, which were not accepted by the Committee and not included in the final text of the legislation, were:
- An amendment to prohibit Members of Congress and their families from being eligible for SEC. 1005 farm loan assistance for Socially Disadvantaged (SDA) Farmers and Ranchers.
- An amendment to require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to use the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) SDA Loan Program eligibility definition when administering SEC 1005 loan forgiveness to SDA Farmers and Ranchers. Previously, H.R. 1319 was using an outdated definition that did not include “women” as eligible to receive loan forgiveness, contrary to women being eligible to apply for FSA’s SDA Loan Program.
You can click here to watch Rep. Scott’s remarks before the House Rules Committee in support of his amendments.
In addition to expressing concerns with the price and partisanship of the legislation, Rep. Scott has also contended that nearly $1 trillion remains of funds already dedicated for COVID-19 relief. Some of the programs with unspent money include:
- $280 billion for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program
- $239 billion for health spending
- $172 billion for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans
- $172 billion for Unemployment Insurance Expansion
- $59 billion for education funding
- $58 billion for aid to states and local governments
- $33 billion for food stamps
- $10 billion for childcare and Development Block Grants