Alabama Republican Congressman Jerry Carl voted against House Democrats’ $1.9 trillion budget framework that allows them to pass Democratic President Joe Biden’s massive coronavirus relief bill without any Republican input. Carl said that the federal government has not spent all the money from the last coronavirus relief bill, signed by President Donald Trump in December.
“Today, House Democrats took the first step to rush through Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. I voted against this budget because federal agencies have yet to use all the COVID relief funds already allocated to them, and because this budget fails to provide meaningful, targeted aid to hardworking Americans. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, Congress has provided more than $4 trillion in aid to individuals, business owners, and local and state governments. With $1.3 trillion still available for the federal response to the pandemic, it is unwise and irresponsible to rush through another emergency spending package. The U.S. national debt is nearing $28 trillion, and we cannot afford to keep spending at such an unsustainable level. The pandemic is a looming problem that must be addressed, but we must avoid making today’s solutions become tomorrow’s unsolvable problems.”
Biden said that the disappointing January job numbers justify the massive coronavirus aid package:
“The January jobs numbers came out today. And while we are grateful for everyone who found work and is earning a paycheck, it is very clear our economy is still in trouble. We added just 6,000 private sector jobs in the country last month. Overall, we added 49,000 jobs. And this at a time when we have more than 10 million people out of work, 4 million people have been out of work for six months or longer, and 2.5 million women have been driven from the workforce. Fifteen million Americans are behind in their rental payments. Twenty-four million adults and twelve million children literally don’t have enough food to eat.”
“We’re still in the teeth of this pandemic. In fact, January was the single deadliest month of the whole pandemic. We lost nearly 100,000 lives. I know some in Congress think we’ve already done enough to deal with the crisis in the country. Others think that things are getting better and we can afford to sit back and either do a little or do nothing at all. That’s not what I see. I see enormous pain this country. A lot of folks out of work. A lot of folks going hungry, staring at the ceiling at night wondering, ‘What am I going to do tomorrow?’ A lot of folks trying to figure out how to keep their jobs and take care of their children. A lot of folks reaching the breaking point.”
Biden said that his coronavirus aid plan puts $160 billion into our national COVID-19 strategy. It also gives Americans $1,400 checks. Biden’s package also includes more money for: food and nutrition, extending unemployment insurance, small business assistance, health insurance assistance, rental assistance, to help open schools, for childcare, for paid leave, and to bailout state and local governments. Most controversially, it raises the minimum wage.
“My plan creates more jobs, it creates more economic growth, and does more to make us competitive with the rest of the world than any other plan,” said Biden. “Wall Street investment firm, Moody’s, says if we pass the American Rescue Plan, it will lead to 4 million more jobs than otherwise would be created. The nonpartisan Brookings Institution has looked at the Rescue — American Rescue Plan and said the GDP of — will reach pre-pandemic projections by 2021, meaning we’ll have recovered by the end of 2021. And much sooner, by the way, than if we do nothing.”
The Democrats were able to pass the framework and appear to have the votes to pass most of Biden’s coronavirus aid using the Budget Reconciliation Act rules requiring a simple majority rather than the 60 votes needed in the Senate to break a filibuster.