Train Pork a Sign COVID Bill Is off the Rails

February 26, 2021

The bill was supposed to help America recover from COVID -- not make taxpayers sick. Unfortunately for our economy, Democrats don't seem to know the difference between a relief package and pork. The Left's 591-page excuse for a "rescue plan" is so loaded down with waste that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) might need the $112 million Bay Area transit expansion -- just to get out of town. Most voters, she ought to know, don't appreciate being railroaded.

And it shouldn't be hard to pull back the curtain on the rest of the COVID relief, thanks to the sizeable chunk of cash going to the National Endowment for the Arts. The controversial group is slated for $135 million dollar bonus -- but don't expect them to play a leading role in virus containment. There's another $1.5 million for a Seaway bridge to Canada, more than $200 million for The Institute of Museum and Library Services, and $50 million in political kickbacks for groups like Planned Parenthood. All told, experts say, only 10 percent of Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID "relief" bill actually goes to fighting the pandemic.

Even some Democrats are having a hard time excusing what leadership is passing off as "essential spending." New York's Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D) said on CNN he was "embarrassed" by the unrelated pork. Pressed on how he felt about the package being debated Friday, he admitted candidly, "The answer, no, I'm not comfortable [with it]." And he shouldn't be. Republicans have seized on the line-items, blasting Democrats for exploiting the crisis to pad their friends' pockets. "It's a disgrace that Democrats are trying to push through a bill where 90 percent of the spending doesn't actually have anything to do with COVID," one GOP strategist told Politico. "It is an absolute a slap in the face to everyone who has actually been killed, who have had their businesses destroyed by these lockdowns."

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), like so many Americans, took real exception to Democrats using this bill as a front to bankroll abortion. In the $10 billion of foreign assistance alone, at least $745 million could be used to pay for abortions -- breaking a 47-year precedent that overseas aid can't be used to taken unborn lives. "They want to get rid of all the Hyde Amendment language," she argued. "They want to get rid of any of the provisions that would deal with no federal funding [of] abortion [like] the Mexico City policy. All of that they just want to wipe away. They even are changing the paycheck protection program so that Planned Parenthood can apply for [COVID relief loans]."

Blackburn says she's been on the phone non-stop with constituents in Tennessee, worried about the financial implications of such a bloated bill. "It's bad politics for them," Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) agreed. "Because the narrative is that they're liberal, they just spend money like there's no tomorrow. And every time there's a crisis they load it up with spending."

This is a pork blowout, people have pointed out, that includes $1 billion in racial justice funds for black farmers. What does that have to do with beating COVID? Heck if Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) knows. "I think it's wrong. I don't understand the justification of this." Nor do conservatives seem to understand the $40 million in "Native American language preservation" or $50 million for "environmental justice."

The only justice taxpayers should want is seeing this bill defeated. If it's not, Americans will be riding Pelosi's $112 million gravy train right off a fiscal cliff.