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Six examples of wasteful spending that could be cut from the pandemic package

Mar 5, 2021 by AFP

As Congress debates a massive $1.9 trillion spending package intended to provide relief from the coronavirus, President Joe Biden has challenged those who say it spends too much. The president has asked where cuts should be made:

Critics say my plan is too big, that it costs $1.9 trillion. So that’s too much. Well, let me ask them: What would they have me cut?  What would they have me leave out?

It’s important to note that it’s not just a few people or a few partisan opponents who warn that the bill wastes too much money. Criticism comes from a diverse range of organizations and individuals.

They include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, and Lawrence Summers, a senior economic official in several Democratic presidential administrations.

They are among the economists, think tanks, policy champions and others who have said either the bill spends too much or fails to target genuine needs.

Among the wasteful spending included in H.R. 1319:

  • $350 billion to bail out state and local governments, on top of hundreds of billions previously provided, and despite rapidly improving state balance sheets
  • $53 billion in payments to insurance companies, in the form of untargeted assistance, including benefits to those with high incomes who are already insured
  • $86 billion to bail out poorly managed and unreformed multiemployer pension plans
  • $128 billion in new spending dedicated to school systems not students, despite more than $50 billion remaining unspent from previous COVID bills
  • $480 million in grants for the arts and humanities
  • $100 million for projects related to the Green New Deal

It is important for Congress to support the millions of Americans who are working hard to recover stronger from the pandemic. But that can’t be an excuse to waste hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money on bailouts and low-priority initiatives.

Instead, assistance should be timely, targeted, and temporary. And policymakers should focus on commonsense reforms that will help us all recover stronger.

Act now to support the Save Lives, Save Livelihoods agenda, which will help Americans rebound from the pandemic through prudent reforms and spending.