WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) delivered a speech on the House Floor blasting Speaker Pelosi’s $1.9 trillion partisan so-called COVID relief package where more than 90% of the bill isn’t even related to public health spending. Whip Scalise pointed out how in Democrats’ legislation, mismanaged blue states get massive bailouts, prisoners get stimulus checks, and funding for schools isn’t tied to reopening.
“Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this massive non-COVID spending bill. And if you look over the last year during this pandemic, Congress has come together many times in a bipartisan way to go and specifically help families who are struggling, to help small businesses who are hanging on by a thread, to try to put more money into finding a vaccine. Mr. Speaker, we were successful in those initiatives. In fact, so successful that we now have three proven vaccines that are out there working because of President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, we were able to help millions of small businesses stay afloat.
“There’s still more struggling. Many cases in states who are mismanaging this, you’re seeing a disparate impact. But Mr. Speaker, instead of working with Republicans and Democrats, President Biden tried this go it alone approach to allow Speaker Pelosi to write a bill behind closed doors, bring the bill forward, not allowing a single Democrat to file an amendment on a $1.9 trillion spending bill in the House.
“When you look at what’s in the bill, and many people reference polling as if we should vote based on a poll that doesn’t show the full story. Well, we’re starting to get the full story, Mr. Speaker. If you ask people, ‘Do you think with hundreds of billions of dollars still out there unspent from previous bills, we should borrow $1.9 trillion from our children to do things like send $1400 checks to people in federal prison?’ Yes, Mr. Speaker, that’s in this bill, pick your prisoner of choice. The Boston Marathon bomber gets a $1400 check in this bill and we’re borrowing that money from our children. Has that been asked by a pollster? I would argue no.
“But there was an amendment to strip that out. Every Democrat who had the opportunity, voted to continue sending those checks to felons. No wonder last week, Mr. Speaker, 97 Democrats voted to allow felons to vote in elections. Luckily that amendment barely failed. But Mr. Speaker, look at what’s in this bill. Is there any money in this bill, by the way, to specifically open our schools. Unfortunately, the answer to that is no.
“We had an amendment to require that if you’re going to give hundreds of billions of new money to schools, shouldn’t it at least be used to open those schools? The science says to open schools. The unions bosses say no. You look at what’s in this bill, you look at what’s not in this bill. This should be a targeted relief bill, but instead, this is an attempt by Speaker Pelosi to further promote her socialist agenda, 95% of the money in this bill for schools can’t even be spent this year. So this bill actually keeps schools closed longer. And think about that juxtaposition, Mr. Speaker.
“President Biden has created a crisis at America’s border. President Biden said America’s border is open, but in this bill, he keeps schools closed. How does that make any sense? Mr. Speaker, again, you go through this bill. They actually inserted language in this bill, by dark of night, and I’m sure it’s never been polled. But in this bill, it bans states from cutting taxes. If anyone can explain to me how that has anything to do with COVID, you look at a state like New York who is losing hundreds of thousands of people from gross mismanagement by their Governor and because of high taxes to states like Florida who have no income tax. And if the state of New York, in this bill, tries to fix the problems they’ve created with high taxes by trying to bring their state in line, they actually get penalized in this bill for cutting taxes.
“This has nothing to do with COVID. We should work together on something that helps families get through this, helps get more vaccines in arms, helps open up our schools. This is a failed socialist approach. I urge rejection and I yield back the balance of my time.”