“The goal of COVID relief is to end the pandemic, protect incomes, and support the economic recovery. The House bill not only spends far more than is needed to achieve these goals but also puts too many of these plentiful dollars in the wrong places,” announced Maya MacGuineas, president of the CRFB, in a statement Wednesday.
The CRFB is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization committed to notifying the public on fiscal policy issues that would affect them. The group’s leadership consists of leading budget experts, among them former heads of the House and Senate Budget Committees, the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office, and the Federal Reserve Board.
As the analysis indicates, roughly 1 percent of the $1.9 trillion will go toward vaccines, and just another 5 percent is targeted toward mitigating the public health difficulties caused by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, “nearly half of the package will be spent on poorly targeted rebate checks and state and local government aid, including to households and governments that have experienced little or no financial loss during this crisis,” said MacGuineas.
MacGuineas scrutinized the House Ways and Means Committee’s choice to restrict unemployment benefits to Aug. 29, in order to use that money for pension bailouts. “The financial status of these funds (multi-employer pensions) shouldn’t be addressed in a piece of crisis legislation, and certainly not at the cost of benefits for unemployed workers.”
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), in a different statement Wednesday, announced his committee has directed toward the needs of the American people.
“Over the last two days, the Ways and Means Committee has considered aggressive, science-based solutions that will deliver the urgent relief our country so desperately needs. From unemployment benefits to health care affordability, the work we’ve done is substantial,” Neal announced.
Further provisions approved by The Ways and Means Committee for the FY 2021 budget reconciliation bill include providing $1,400 to each person, extending unemployment to Aug. 29, expanding tax credits for workers and families, improved healthcare coverage, and controlling the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, in nursing homes.
Besides the pension bailout, the CRFB further criticized expanding the child tax credit and earned income tax credit, increasing Affordable Care Act subsidies, and boosting the minimum wage, saying the provisions are not related to pandemic relief.