House conservatives unveil playbook on how they’ll fight back against Democrats' $1.9T COVID bill
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R- Ohio, on President Biden's coronavirus relief plan and increasing the federal minimum wage.
EXCLUSIVE: The largest conservative caucus in the House is circulating a new playbook on how to fight back against President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill by exposing each of the ''liberal goodies" tucked inside the package.
The Republican Study Committee (RSC) authored a three-page memo to conservatives to outline "all the left-wing items Democrats are hoping the public won’t find about." Fox News first obtained a copy of the fact sheet that is slated to be widely circulated Monday.
Among the provisions raising eyebrows among the conservatives are $1,400 stimulus checks going to mixed-status families with undocumented immigrants; allowing Planned Parenthood to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds designed to keep small businesses afloat; and nearly $600 million for additional emergency paid family leave for federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers, according to the RSC memo.
The memo also calls out subsidies and loan forgiveness to farmers and ranchers on the basis of race and ethnicity; allowing coronavirus funding to go to colleges that have partnerships with Chinese-controlled companies and Confucius Institutes; and doling out $50 million for environmental justice grant programs, which the RSC pans as "a thinly-veiled kickback to leftist environmental groups."
The RSC memo raises concerns over extending PPP business funding to owners who could have a felony record, including "violent criminals," and extending Medicaid eligibility for incarcerated inmates during the 30 days prior to their release.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., does a television interview in the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (Getty Images)
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., the chairman of the RSC, said taxpayers need to know what's hidden in the package.
"The RSC is leading conservatives inside and outside the Beltway in opposition to this so-called ‘relief package.’ The more we learn about it, the worse it sounds," Banks told Fox News. "That’s why we’ve put together a fact sheet to educate Americans exactly how their taxpayer dollars are being spent by Democrats."
The House Budget Committee on Monday will take up the $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan, and the full House could vote on the legislation later in the week. House GOP Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., already told his Republican conference to vote "no," and he dubbed the legislation "Pelosi’s Payoff to Progressives Act."
The 591-page bill was released on Friday. The package includes the work of nine House committees that drafted various sections based on their area of jurisdiction.
President Joe Biden walks with Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEO, right, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, second from right, and Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus response coordinator, as he tours a Pfizer manufacturing site, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Portage, Mich. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP)
The Biden administration and Democrats say the relief bill is necessary to reopen schools, deliver a financial lifeline to struggling families, speed up the health care response, help state and local governments and assist small businesses.
"We are in a race against time, and aggressive, bold action is needed before our nation is permanently scarred by the human and economic costs of inaction," said House Budget Committee chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky.
Overall, the House legislation would provide $1,400 stimulus checks to adults and their dependents, with individuals making less than $75,000 and married couples earning less than $150,000 seeing the full amount. But the checks would phase out more quickly and cut off at incomes higher than $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for couples filing jointly.
The legislation extends federal unemployment compensation through Aug. 29 at a rate of $400 per week, up from the current $300.
The duration of the two main federal unemployment programs would also be lengthened. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program would be extended from 24 to 48 weeks. And the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program would extend from 50 to 74 weeks.
The legislation would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 and guarantees that tipped workers, youth workers and workers with disabilities are paid the full federal minimum wage. The $15 wage provision, however, may not survive in the Senate.
The coronavirus relief package also includes $350 billion to state and local governments, $130 billion for K-12 schools and $40 billion for colleges and universities. The bill expands the child tax credit, housing assistance, food aid and health care programs, too.