Brad Polumbo
Foundation for Economic Education

February 22, 2021

President Biden has proposed $1.9 trillion in additional COVID-19 spending. He’s asking Congress to authorize another round of checks, more expanded unemployment benefits, a $15 minimum wage, and much, much more. Over the weekend, House Democrats finally released the text of the 600-page bill meant to make Biden’s broad COVID proposals a legislative reality. 

Critics and economists have already attacked the proposal on the merits of its main provisions and staggering overall cost, arguing it would break the budgetincentivize unemployment, and fail to stimulate the economy. However, there’s a much simpler objection to this legislative bonanza: it’s full of unrelated pork and political priorities.

Here are 10 crazy examples of waste and partisan kick-backs that have nothing to do with COVID-19 but are in the new bill.

“The $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package being pushed by President Biden puts more than $1 billion toward ‘socially disadvantaged’ farmers and related groups — including an equity commission, agricultural training and other assistance to advance racial justice in farming,” Fox News reports.

The legislation allocates $50 million for “environmental justice” grants via the Environmental Protection Agency. The Republican Study Commission decried these grants as a “thinly-veiled kickback” because much of this money will end up going to left-wing political groups. 

In an expenditure with zero apparent connection to COVID-19, the new bill allocates $112 million for the “Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) expansion” program. The money would largely go to a specific “underground rail project in Silicon Valley for which planning has been going on for several years but hasn’t yet broken ground,” Fox Business reports.

Slipped into the seemingly endless bill text is a $10 million appropriation to “ensure the survival and continuing vitality of Native American languages during and after the public health emergency.”

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