25 Feb

While Democrats voted for a third time yesterday to block consideration of legislation that would allow for the safe reopening of schools in accordance with science, their party continues to tout their so-called “rescue” plan that’s anything but.

There’s been plenty of coverage already of the waste in this legislation, whether it’s over $100M for Speaker Pelosi’s Silicon Valley Subway, a special provision to fund Senator’s Schumer’s Seaway bridge, hundreds of millions of dollars for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, resources that allow for the taxpayer funding of abortion, and more.

As we highlighted yesterday, President Biden has asked Republicans what from the bill would they cut. It’s clear that the answer is plenty.

Simply put, this legislation is not about COVID relief. Over 90% of the bill is focused on enacting President Biden’s and Speaker Pelosi’s political priorities that will only hurt our recovery efforts, while just 9% of the bill actually includes spending related to combatting the virus. There’s no question that this legislation is more about Democrats’ agenda than doing what’s right for the nation. The below chart from Leader McCarthy’s office tells the story:

Their legislation as a whole is flat-out irresponsible.

Of the $4T in COVID relief that has been appropriated already by Congress, $1T has not yet been spent. We could focus on spending that effectively instead of voting to spend another $2T that our children and grandchildren will be forced to pay for.

And unlike the previous efforts to pass COVID relief, this entire effort has been partisan from the start. There was no attempt from the President or Democrats to work with Republicans on commonsense legislation that was temporary, targeted, and tied to COVID. Throughout the committee process, Democrats rejected 243/245 (99.1%) of amendments offered by Republicans, and have made clear that they are more concerned with rushing this bill through the House instead of working in a surgical way to craft legislation that focuses on defeating the virus.

In an op-ed published yesterday, the lead Republicans on the Budget and Oversight Committees – Reps. Jason Smith and James Comer – explained how the goal of this bill is for Democrats to satisfy a political agenda and bail out their political allies:

  • Fox News (Reps. Smith & Comer): “Dems’ $1.9T COVID relief bill – wrong plan, wrong time, wrong reasons. Here’s why”
    • The goal is to satisfy a political agenda and bail out political allies. The guise is COVID-19 relief. Regardless, their plan means tremendous harm to America’s working-class. It is the wrong plan, at the wrong time, for all the wrong reasons.
    • Less than 9% of the spending in the bill would go toward combating COVID-19 through public health measures like vaccinations, testing and tracking the virus. Of the $130 billion in spending that Democrats claim is desperately needed to reopen America’s K-12 public schools, only 5% would occur this fiscal year – a clear sign that their urgency to notch some wins for their political base is not matched with an urgency to get schools open in the near future.
    • It is estimated that nearly $1 trillion in existing COVID-19 funding remains unspent. We recently introduced a resolution that would require President Biden provide to Congress a thorough and accurate accounting of any unspent COVID-19 funding. Such a simple measure of transparency ought to be a prerequisite before more is asked of American taxpayers.

There’s so much more that’s problematic about this package. Whether that’s their decision to change the minimum wage law that would make wages $0 for 1.4M Americans who would lose their jobs, the fact that even liberal economists like Larry Summers and Steve Rattner have expressed concerns that the bill is too big and could cause inflationary problems, or the recognition that, not including the direct checks, almost half of this bill will not be spent until 2022 or later in a sign of how this isn’t really about overcoming COVID.

This is not a “rescue” bill. It is a bailout and payoff for the left, and the American people will hold Democrats responsible for their reckless leadership at this important moment if they continue to move forward with this legislation.

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“What Would You Have Me Cut?”

24 Feb

That is a question that President Biden asked of Republicans earlier this week.

The answer…plenty.

That’s because just 9% of his nearly $2T bill goes to combatting COVID-19 through public health spending. The other 91% of the bill is focused on fulfilling Democrats’ political priorities, making clear that he and his party are more interested in using the pandemic as an opportunity to enact their agenda, which is something they have talked about doing for nearly a year.

Going back to President Biden’s question, would he be okay if the legislation cut Speaker Pelosi’s $112M subway to Silicon Valley?

Would President Biden support removing Senator Schumer’s Seaway Bridge to Canada that will cost taxpayers $1.5M?

What about the $135M for the National Endowment for the Arts? $135M for the National Endowment for the Humanities? $200M for the Institute of Museum and Library Services?

Does President Biden think that now is the time to spend $12,000,000,000 (that’s $12B) in foreign aid? Would he be okay cutting that?

Republicans have said from the beginning that any legislation should be temporary, targeted, and tied to COVID. This bill is the opposite of that. As Leader McCarthy has said, it is too costly, too corrupt, and too liberal. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board has alluded to this in a piece earlier this weekthat detailed how Democrats’ legislation has little do with combatting the virus.

Of the $4T that Congress has already appropriated in COVID Relief, $1T has not yet been spent. And outside of stimulus payments in this new package, 45% of the spending can’t go out the door until 2022 or later, including 95% of the funding that they have allocated for K-12 education.

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The White House Continues To Fail America’s Students

18 Feb

The Biden Administration’s failure to follow the science and work to reopen schools has been covered at-length. Since taking office, the President walked back his initial promise to have all students back in the classroom within his first 100 days after facing pressure from the teachers union.

These unions continue to put roadblocks in the way of reopening schools, despite the fact that the Director of the CDC and Dr. Fauci have both said that teachers being vaccinated are not a prerequisite for having students physically back in the classroom.

Even though the science and position of the experts could not be clearer, Administration officials still refuse to say definitively that schools should reopen even if all teachers have not yet received the vaccine. In her first one-on-one interview since being sworn-in last month, Vice President Harris was asked repeatedly if she agreed with the experts and thought that schools should reopen with the CDC’s recommended public health measures even if all teachers had not been vaccinated. She punted each time:

  • The New York Post: “Kamala Harris fumbles when challenged on school reopenings in ‘Today’ interview”

Vice President Harris’s senior advisor did the same thing in an interview with CNN yesterday as well, prompting the host to say “it’s not a trick question,” even though the spokesperson refused to answer it directly:

A CNN political analyst pointed out that Administration officials “can’t seem to just give a simple answer about what the science says about when schools should reopen,” and a column in today’s New York Post explains how their indecisiveness can only explained as an effort to appease the teachers unions:

  • The New York Post (Podhoretz): “Team Biden is making up absurd excuses for shuttered schools just to please unions”
    • Remember the good old days, when the issue of reopening schools to full-time, in-class instruction was about COVID? It’s not about helping people avoid contracting the novel coronavirus any longer.

      Now it’s about saving them from . . . mold. And asthma. And other conditions that have nothing whatever to do with COVID and everything to do with coming up with reasons why schools should remain closed until teachers unions decide it’s all right for their members to go back to doing what teachers have done since the days of ancient Athens — instruct their charges in person. Face to face.

      Professional education journalists and Democratic politicians shift the goalposts daily, to make it harder and more complicated, not easier, to get kids back in a classroom with a teacher in front of them.

The Administration’s unwillingness to follow the science and take concrete steps to reopen schools amounts to a failure of our nation’s students. The White House cannot be trusted to govern responsibly if they are going to put the interests of their political allies before what’s best for the nation, and all the evidence tells us that getting students back into the classroom is unquestionably the right thing to do.

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Former Obama Adviser Outlined How Dangerous Democrats’ Proposed Stimulus Could Be For Our Economy

17 Feb

Yesterday, President Obama’s former “car czar” Steve Rattner appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss the Democrats’ massive stimulus bill and even he expressed concerns about the size and scope of their package.

After Joe Scarborough explained that the CBO expects our economy to grow 3.7% this year even without Democrats’ legislation, Rattner pointed out that we are beginning to see some concern about inflation due to the amount of stimulus that has already been enacted. He noted that during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the U.S. government put around $2 trillion into the U.S. economy, while we have already authorized about $4 trillion in spending for the same type of rescue today. Check out the interview below:

STEVE RATTNER“There are beginning to be some concerns about inflation…The package is huge. And just to put it into some kind of context, in 2008-2009 we put about $2 trillion into the economy to rescue ourselves from the great financial crisis. We have already authorize $4 trillion for the same type of resuce, and this bill would about roughly, as you say, $1.9 trillion or $2 trillion on top of that. So a package that’s roughly three times the size of what we did during the great financial crisis. We also, by the way, still have about $1 trillion from the $4 trillion that’s already been authorized that hasn’t been spent yet. So, it’s a huge amount of money and it does run the risk of putting more money into the economy than it needs at the moment…But all in all, the more you look at this, the bigger and a little bit scarier it starts to get.” 

It’s also important to note that while the previous legislation that pumped $4 trillion into the economy to respond this crisis was bipartisan, Democrats are now working to ram this legislation through unilaterally. They have not accepted commonsense amendments from Republicans and have opted to focus more on their partisan priorities – like advancing a job-destroying minimum wage hike – instead of working to craft this bill in a responsible way.

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Democrats’ Push To Abandon Fossil Fuels Runs Into Reality

17 Feb

While we’re thinking about the people of Texas and those across the country who are suffering from record-low temperatures and power outages, what’s unfolding has revealed why Democrats’ push to abolish fossil fuels would be so damaging:

  • The Wall Street Journal (Editorial): “The Political Making of a Texas Power Outage”
    • The problem is Texas’s overreliance on wind power that has left the grid more vulnerable to bad weather. Half of wind turbines froze last week, causing wind’s share of electricity to plunge to 8% from 42%. Power prices in the wholesale market spiked, and grid regulators on Friday warned of rolling blackouts. Natural gas and coal generators ramped up to cover the supply gap but couldn’t meet the surging demand for electricity—which half of households rely on for heating—even as many families powered up their gas furnaces. Then some gas wells and pipelines froze. In short, there wasn’t sufficient baseload power from coal and nuclear to support the grid.
  • Dallas Morning News (Editorial): “Rolling power outages show why Texas needs renewables, nuclear and fossil fuels”
    • We need all of our fuel resources to keep our grid agile and reliable. Each fuel type, nuclear, coal, natural gas, solar and wind, offers benefits and drawbacks. So until something better comes along, we are going to need nuclear and fossil fuels.
  • Forbes (Gilbertie): “Texas Outages Put Reliability Of Renewable Energy In The Spotlight”
    • This is the problem with renewable energy; it isn’t always there when the going gets tough. The ramifications of changing our current electric grid from carbon and nuclear based sources to wind, solar and other more environmentally and politically correct sources are not esoteric; they are real, consequential, and life threatening.

Representative Dan Crenshaw explained how what’s taking place in his state is demonstrating the unreliability of renewable energy sources, and pointed out how fossil fuels have provided a lifeline:

  • The Blaze: “‘Fossil fuels are the only thing that saved us’: Dan Crenshaw replies to leftists mocking massive electric grid failure in Texas”

As the Biden Administration and Democrats work to appease their far-left base and ban the use of oil, coal, and natural gas, the reality of what’s happening this week shows why these resources are so crucial for our country.

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President Biden Failed To Justify His Administration’s Failed Approach To Reopening Schools

17 Feb

During a televised town hall last night with CNN, President Joe Biden claimed that it was, “a mistake in communications,” for his Administration to say that their goal was to have more than 50% of schools open at least once a week after their first 100 days:

The problem with that assertion is not only did his Administration double-down on that goal after they initially spelled it out, but the White House has not demonstrated any serious effort to actually reopen schools. Instead, they have sided with the teachers unions out of political convenience, and the new guidance issued late last week puts nearly 90% of schools in “red zones,” despite the fact that data from the CDC has shown that schools can be reopened safely.

In another sign that they are not serious about actually reopening schools, Leader McCarthy’s office pointed out yesterday that more than two-thirds of the education money in Democrats’ massive stimulus bill won’t be spent until 2023 or later.

  • The Washington Examiner (Editorial): “The lie at the center of Biden’s school funding proposal”
    • Biden and other Democrats have repeatedly claimed that schools cannot reopen without an immediate fiscal shot to the arm in order to ensure student and teacher safety. This is not an unreasonable ask, and indeed, at first glance, the bill appears to deliver a huge dose of help. It would appropriate $128.6 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which Biden’s rescue plan demands in order “to support schools in safely reopening.” However, there is a catch. The bill would spend only $6.4 billion of that money in fiscal 2021 — less than 5% of the total…It is evident that 95% of the money being programmed for “reopening” is not going to be used for that purpose unless Biden doesn’t intend for schools to reopen until November or even next January. And the vast majority of the money still won’t be spent for another year after that. The “reopening” money in this bill is so heavily backloaded that $90 billion of it, nearly three-fourths, will, in fact, be spent between fiscal years 2023 and 2028. So either Biden is lying about the urgent need and is just using the taxpayer to pay a ransom to the teachers unions that are holding children’s education hostage, or he thinks the pandemic will have gone on for eight years.

We already know that Congress appropriated $68 billion in Covid relief for K-12 schools last year, and only a fraction of that has been spent. Still, multiple members of the Biden Administration have claimed that additional resources that are a part of Democrats’ bill are needed so schools can reopen, but the above report makes clear that this is an empty talking point since the bulk of the money for K-12 schools in their legislation won’t be spent for years.

As the White House demonstrates that they do not have a plan on this important issue, the media has predictably started to blame Republicans for criticizing the Administration’s lack of a response:

  • Fox News: “New York Times, Politico slammed for ‘Republicans pounce’ framework on stories about reopening schools”

A widely-panned Politico story yesterday actually claimed that Republicans have made, “no commitment to meaningfully engage on policy proposals” to reopen schools, ignoring the fact that Democrats have repeatedly blocked efforts to pass legislation that would allow students to safely return to the classroom sooner:

  • Fox News: “House blocks immediate consideration of GOP school reopening legislation”

The President may be trying to course-correct his Administration’s bungled messaging on reopening schools, but the policy is what matters. It’s critical for the White House to follow the science and take steps to allow students to safely return to the classroom.

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Reality Check From One House Dem To His Colleagues

12 Feb

While the media focus is on the Senate this week, it can’t be lost what House Democrats have done over the past few days. They are ramming their partisan reconciliation bill through committees, rejecting commonsenseamendments offered by Republicans and focusing more on their timeline than actually crafting a responsible bill.

Even members of their own party are raising serious concerns about this process. Here was Rep. Kurt Schrader earlier today during E&C’s markup:

REP. KURT SCHRADER: Instead, right now, we’re in this very non-unified, partisan process that’s going to take time to get through the House and the Senate. You know, it’s the exact opposite of what I heard the President articulate at the inauguration. Because the $900 billion relief package that the Problem Solvers Caucus, that I’m a member of, helped drive is only now rolling out. We have some time, colleagues, we have some time to do our job, which is represent this very diverse country and deliberate on what elements of these packages are probably better than others, and maybe should get our support – both Republicans and Democrats. That’s the essence of representative government. I don’t know of any legislation that can’t be improved, and yet, none of the committees of jurisdiction are probably going to be allowing amendments. I just don’t agree with that. I just don’t agree with that. It’s just not the way we’re supposed to be operating. That’s not the reason I got elected.

His full remarks can be seen here. Do his fellow Democrats agree with him? Do they have any interest in getting this right instead of doing it fast? Will they give the $3.5T in COVID relief that has already passed – and was agreed to in a bipartisan fashion – time to work before voting on a partisan basis to spend $2T more?

As Congress gets back to legislating, these questions are only going to grow louder if Democrats stay on this course.

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Democrats’ Radical Agenda On Display During Education & Labor Markup

10 Feb

As Democrats race to pass their massive stimulus bill that advances their partisan interests instead of providing the targeted assistance that the American people need, they will be marking up the relevant portions of the legislation in House committees of jurisdiction this week.

In a marathon session in the Education & Labor Committee that concluded this morning, their radical agenda was on full display as the majority advanced bad policies like a federally-mandated minimum wage hike that will destroy jobs and also voted against common sense Republican amendments that would protect life, counter China’s malign activity, disincentivize illegal immigration, and more.

Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) issued the following statement after Democrats advanced their left wing partisan COVID-19 budget reconciliation scheme along party lines:

“Once again, Democrats are ignoring vulnerable, hardworking Americans, choosing instead to favor left wing special interests and those who support their radical agenda. Forcing children to miss out on a high-quality, in-person education while cherry picking the schools that receive relief and championing a job-destroying $15 national minimum wage hike is hardly ‘bold relief.’

“Republicans offered commonsense amendments to help all schools safely reopen, help small businesses stay afloat, and help workers reenter the workforce, all of which were voted down by Committee Democrats. Preaching that you want schools to reopen safely and then voting against measures to do so is the definition of hypocrisy. By advancing this partisan wish list disguised as COVID-19 relief using a sham process, Democrats are using Americans’ struggles to score cheap political points and prop up their failed liberal policies.”

Specifically, the Democrats’ legislation will:

  • Kill 1.4 million jobs by raising the national minimum wage by 107 percent;
  • Undermine the integrity of workers’ compensation programs and force taxpayers to cover many non-employment-related claims; and
  • Endanger unborn children by allowing COBRA funds to go towards abortion services.

Committee Republicans offered commonsense proposals, but:

  • Democrats refused to support school reopenings even after teachers are offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Democrats denied in-person learning to high-risk students.
  • Democrats failed to provide American workers with much needed workforce skills and development education.
  • Democrats give money to institutions of higher education who partner with Communist China.
  • Democrats refused to protect small businesses who will be decimated by a $15 national minimum wage.
  • Democrats favor student aid for illegal aliens at the expense of U.S. students.

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Promises Made…Promises Broken

10 Feb

President Biden stressed a few things on the campaign trail and during the initial days of his Administration:

  1. His Administration would follow the science
  2. He would work to open schools within his first 100 days as President

He appears to now have abandoned both of those benchmarks. Despite the fact that the CDC has said it’s safe for students to go back into the classroom and President Biden’s own CDC Director has said that it’s safe for schools to reopen even if all teachers have not been vaccinated, the Administration has continued to oppose the science and side with their political allies in the teachers unions in keeping schools closed.

Yesterday, we saw that the Administration’s “promise” is entirely unserious. When asked about the specifics behind the goal they outlined for the first 100 days of the Biden presidency, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that they considered success having “over 50 percent” of schools open “at least one day per week.”:

This is more proof that the new Administration cares more about politics and their political priorities than they do about the best interest of the nation. The science indicates that schools can reopen now if proper precautions are taken. Instead of working to achieve this goal, President Biden is catering to the whims of the teachers unions, who are serving as the roadblock for getting students back into the classroom.

From promising to unify the nation and then signing divisive executive orders that will cause economic pain, to vowing to reopen schools in 100 days only to go back on that because their political allies are not on board, the American people are learning early on that President Biden and his Administration cannot be trusted.

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Congressional Gold Medal For Dr. Li Wenliang

9 Feb

A number of House Republicans have sponsored a new bill that would posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal – the highest civilian honor that Congress can bestow – to Dr. Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who blew the whistle about the initial spread of COVID-19 and the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to cover it up:

  • The Washington Examiner: “House Republicans say Chinese doctor and coronavirus whistleblower deserves Congressional Gold Medal”

Dr. Li is unquestionably a hero who died trying to warn the world of the coming health crisis. While the Chinese Communist Party attempted to silence him, the United States should recognize his bravery. For months, we have seen Speaker Pelosi refuse to hold China accountable for their culpability in allowing this virus to become a pandemic. If she refuses to bring a commonsense bill like this to the floor, despite how deserving Dr. Li is of this honor, it’s just more evidence that she has no interest in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable.

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