“I’m disappointed that President Biden and my Democratic colleagues in Congress co-opted the need for additional COVID-19 relief and used it to push their own political priorities totally unrelated to the pandemic. You know spending isn’t pandemic-related when Democrats tout this legislation as ‘the most progressive domestic legislation in a generation.’ The American people don’t need ‘progressive’ legislation. They need relief now, but that’s not what this bill does. Vast sums of the spending in this bill won’t be spent for years, and it’s not targeted at all. I support strengthening our vaccine program, helping our kids get back in school, and providing relief to those families and businesses who need it most, and it’s unfortunate Congress didn’t focus this legislation on the immediate needs of our country.”
“I have great concerns that the billions of dollars the State of Illinois will receive under this bill will encourage Governor Pritzker and Democrats in the General Assembly to again kick the can on the tough budget decisions that need to be made to address our state’s longstanding fiscal problems. As it’s currently written, this legislation allows state lawmakers to use this federal money with few restrictions. Given the Democrats’ track record in Springfield, I don’t think that’s a responsible use of taxpayer dollars, particularly during a pandemic. I urge Governor Pritzker and Democratic lawmakers to use these dollars to provide direct assistance to struggling families and small businesses, and to pay for things that are explicitly pandemic-related expenses, not old borrowing and unpaid bills.
“Even before Democrats in Congress passed this nearly two trillion dollar spending plan, there already was nearly one trillion dollars in unspent federal funds from previous COVID relief legislation. It is long past time to focus our attention on making sure these dollars are spent responsibly and appropriately. American taxpayers deserve accountability for all of the money that Congress is spending on their behalf, but Democrats in Washington aren’t giving it to them.”
The CARES Act and the 4 other pieces of relief legislation during 2020 were negotiated and passed on a bipartisan, bicameral basis in Congress. President Trump then signed them into law. That includes the most recent CRRSA Act from December that still has billions to be distributed for vaccines and schools. Davis joined a group of lawmakers who recently called on President Biden to negotiate a bipartisan bill. Unfortunately, the bill voted on today is on track to be the first partisan COVID relief bill.
This is in despite of the strong support now on both sides of the aisle for an additional pandemic relief package that includes funds to strengthen national vaccination and testing programs, immediate assistance to individuals and families, and expanded support for struggling businesses. When it comes to direct payments Davis voted for the CASH Act of 2020 which passed the House on December 28th to increase the recovery rebate from $600 to $2,000 for each individual taxpayer and eligible dependents.
Astonishingly, not even 9% of the $1.9 trillion cost goes towards public health spending to combat COVID-19 such as vaccines, testing, or contract tracing. The additional money for schools is structured in a way that only 5% of those funds will be spent in 2021. Meanwhile $68 billion for schools passed in December has yet to be distributed. Likewise, relief for small businesses via the popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to the tune of $160 billion remains untapped. The bill also includes an exorbitant $350 billion allocation to state and local governments on expenses with few restrictions, Coronavirus-related or not.
Opposition to this bill was bipartisan. Only Democrats supported passage of the bill.