Let’s debunk the misinformation and bad math when it comes to the American Rescue Plan.
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STAFFORD-On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed a historic $1.9T COVID relief bill. An astounding 75% of Americans support the bill, including 59% of Republicans. By any meaningful measure of the American people, this bill is bipartisan. It’s also expected to grow our economy an astounding 6.5% this year.
Unfortunately, despite the support from the American people, and the need to deliver relief, the GOP voted unanimously against it. But even worse, after voting against it, GOP politicians have broken into two camps. One camp of GOP politicians is praising the bill despite voting to block it. The other camp of GOP politicians justify their no vote with brazen lies and misinformation. All this does is sow disunity and distrust in the American people.
Let’s Debunk The Misinformation
While the talking points are similar across the GOP board, our own Virginia Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1) has taken the lead in misinformation. He sent out a press release within minutes of voting Nay on the American Rescue Plan.
To set the record straight and to ensure to the American people that President Joe Biden delivered on the bipartisan promise he made, here’s a fact check of Representative Wittman’s inane justifications to block Americans from receiving COVID relief.
CLAIM: “This reckless pork package saddles every American household with an additional $14,000 share of the national debt–in the midst of historic unemployment.”
FACT: The 2017 GOP $1.9T tax cut for billionaires also saddled each household with an additional $14K share of the national debt. The Congressional Budget Office warned it would increase the annual deficit by $1 trillion. However, Rep Wittman proudly supported it anyway. In fact, during President Trump’s tenure the debt grew $8 trillion, but not once did Rep Wittman issue a press release demanding President Trump manage our debt.
But now that working Americans are getting critical relief during historic unemployment caused by Trump’s reckless mismanagement of the pandemic—Rep Wittman objects? This is inexcusable hypocrisy.
How Much is Spent on COVID Relief?
CLAIM: “It only sends 9% to actual COVID-19 health relief. It only directs 1% to vaccinations, ignores the science on reopening schools, and is stuffed with non-COVID-related spending.”
FACT: In reality, and as confirmed by multiple independent fact checkers, 21% or $400B goes directly to health relief. Another $400B goes to critical cash relief checks for people harmed with job loss due to the pandemic. While Trump had no actual vaccine plan, this bill ensures every American is vaccinated by mid May—only 2 months away. Moreover, this bill provides critical funding to open schools this spring. How? By vaccinating teachers and staff first and refitting schools with health guards necessary to open safely.
CLAIM: “The remaining 91% of the $2 trillion package goes to a wish list of Democratic political priorities, like state bailouts and checks to prisoners and illegal aliens.”
FACT: The remaining 79% goes to cash relief for working Americans, and to states and other critical departments because states, etc can’t print their own money. By voting no, the GOP just voted to defund the police, defund veterans, defund schools, defund teachers, defund state and local government employees, and deny working Americans $1400 in relief.
Also, none of the money goes to “illegal aliens.”
This is, in short, a malicious lie without a shred of evidence. Moreover, just because someone is in prison, does not mean they aren’t a US citizen. The GOP relief bills that Rep Wittman voted for also went to prisoners, so why object now? Pictured is a detailed chart of where the COVID relief money goes. Does Rep Wittman suggest we cut FEMA, delay opening schools, or tell restaurants and bars to stay closed?
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Will The ARP Help The Economy?
CLAIM: “As if that were not bad enough, even liberal economists say this bill is wrong for this recovery and are concerned the inflation caused by this “relief” package will burn out our economy and delay its recovery.”
FACT: Rather than cherry picking economists, the GOP should look at the overwhelming consensus among liberal and conservative economists. They say this bill will speed up our economic recovery by putting thousands of dollars in the hands of working Americans. This is why 75% of Americans support this bill.
We get it and we want it, even if partisan politicians don’t. Putting money in the hands of working Americans stimulates our economy, and that’s exactly what this bill does. Just look at the chart below to see how politicians like Rep Wittman are only focused on billionaires.
When the bulk of benefits went to the wealthiest Americans in 2017—the GOP voted unanimously for it. When the bulk of benefits now goes to working Americans in 2021—the GOP voted unanimously against it. This is a problem.
Hey, Didn’t The ARP Also Fund Broadband?
Oh and before I forget. Next time you hear Rep Wittman claim that he cares about Broadband Internet, remind him that the American Rescue Plan has $17 BILLION for Broadband Internet expansion. That’s more money than any amount allocated to broadband expansion in the history of this nation—and Rep Wittman voted Nay. Sadly, this is what happens when you’re a corporate bought politician multi-millionaire who cannot possibly understand the struggle of working Americans.
BOTTOM LINE: The GOP is the party of billionaires and continue to betray all Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike. President Joe Biden promised to pass a bipartisan bill and with 75% of American support, this is the most bipartisan bill our nation has seen in a generation. The GOP resorts to lying because they only serve billionaires, not working Americans. It’s long past due we vote them out. For now, let us celebrate this incredible bill and continue to fight with justice and compassion to lift each other up.
Qasim Rashid is an attorney, author, and former candidate for US Congress. He resides in Stafford, VA. Follow him on Twitter @QasimRashid.