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FactChecking Cruz’s Partisan Spin on COVID-19 Bill

 

Sen. Ted Cruz says solely 9% of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan “focuses on well being spending” and that the remaining “91% is a partisan want listing paying off the Democratic particular pursuits that acquired them elected.”

Whereas arguably 9% of the invoice is for COVID-19 well being spending — relying on how one defines that time period — to name the remaining 91% a “partisan want listing” ignores that Republicans supplied another $618 billion rescue invoice that included lots of the identical components of the Democratic plan, albeit in smaller quantities.

For instance, the bill passed by the Home Democrats consists of $1,400 stimulus checks for people incomes lower than $75,000 and $2,800 to married {couples} incomes lower than $150,000. That’s estimated to price about $422 billion, in accordance with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

The choice invoice put ahead by 10 Senate Republicans additionally proposed stimulus checks, although a smaller quantity and to a smaller group of People. It proposed $1,000 per particular person checks for people. That will start to part out for these making greater than $40,000 a yr, and would cease at these making $50,000 a yr or extra. That was estimated by the invoice’s authors to price $220 billion.

Each payments additionally included more money for unemployment insurance coverage. The stimulus package handed in December gave jobless People an additional $300 per week in unemployment advantages, expiring in mid-March. The rescue plan passed by Home Democrats on Feb. 27 would enhance the weekly profit from $300 to $400 by means of the tip of August. That will price an estimated $163 billion.

The Republican invoice would have saved the additional weekly unemployment profit at $300, however prolonged it by means of the tip of June, costing the federal authorities an estimated $130 billion.

Cruz took intention on the Home-passed COVID-19 aid invoice throughout a Senate Republican press conference on March 4.

“This isn’t a COVID invoice,” Cruz mentioned. “9% of this invoice focuses on COVID well being spending. 91% is a partisan want listing, paying off the Democratic particular pursuits that acquired them elected, and it’s cynical.”

The 9% determine has been a preferred Republican speaking level.

Arguing in a Feb. 24 press conference that the Democratic rescue plan is “too expensive” and “too liberal,” Home Republican Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy mentioned, “Solely 9% goes to COVID.”

“We want our economic system to return to work, again to high school, and again to well being,” McCarthy mentioned in press conference two days later. “However while you spend 91% on paying off your allies, it doesn’t try this.”

In a press convention on Feb. 23, Senate Republican Chief Mitch McConnell mentioned, “If you happen to take a look at lots of the parts of their invoice, for instance the quantity that they spent on public well being, solely constitutes about 10% of the complete $1.9 trillion.” The next day, he said, “Nearly 1% of the cash is for vaccines.”

Talking nearly vaccine spending within the invoice, McConnell’s remark is backed up by an analysis of the American Rescue Plan from the Committee for a Accountable Federal Authorities, which discovered, “Lower than 1% of the American Rescue Plan – about $17 billion – can be spent on vaccine-related actions and packages.”

There’s additionally backing for Cruz’s assertion that simply 9% of the Democrats’ proposal “focuses on COVID well being spending.”

Along with the $17 billion for vaccines, CRFB said one other $110 billion can be spent on “COVID containment.” That features cash for testing and tracing, FEMA catastrophe aid funds and different public well being investments.

Marc Goldwein, senior vice chairman and senior coverage director on the CRFB, mentioned there’s “most likely a beneficiant technique to get to” the 9% determine, reminiscent of together with the entire $122 billion going to Energy and Commerce, plus the $47 billion going to FEMA. That involves $169 billion, which is roughly 9% of the general $1.9 trillion invoice.

In fact, solely together with “COVID well being spending” as the cash going to deal with COVID-19, as McCarthy put it, or to say that it’s “not a COVID invoice,” as Cruz put it, is utilizing a slender definition of the phrases. A lot of the cash is meant to offset the impression of COVID-19 on the economic system.

A spokeswoman for Cruz mentioned the 9% determine cited by Cruz is correct and directed us to a pie chart produced by the Republican workers of the Home Committee on the Funds. The Washington Post Fact Checker took situation with a few of the components contained in that graphic, nonetheless, such because the declare that 25% of the spending would go to “insurance policies that destroy jobs.”

We might be aware that 10 largely average Republican senators proposed another, $618 billion COVID-19 aid invoice that included a few of the identical components because the Democratic invoice, although typically with smaller greenback quantities. In a letter accompanying the proposal, the senators mentioned they had been providing the alternate plan “within the spirit of bipartisanship.”

Along with the diminished stimulus and unemployment profit proposals, as talked about above, the Republican plan also included $20 billion for Ok-12 colleges (far lower than the $130 billion within the Democratic plan, however not nothing) and $20 billion for youngster care block grants (the Democrats’ plan consists of $40 billion).

There’s, in fact, partisan disagreement over massive parts of the Democratic plan. Certainly, there’s a practically $1.three trillion hole between the spending proposals.

For instance, the Home plan requires $350 billion in assist to state and native governments. Republicans, a lot of whom have referred to as the state and native authorities assist a “blue state bailout,” didn’t embody any such assist of their invoice. Actually, all states would get a portion of that assist. Republicans have criticized the allocation components, which relies on inhabitants and unemployment, the latter of which they are saying will profit Democratic-controlled states. Nonetheless, as we have written, state tax consultants say state and native authorities revenues are down general because of the pandemic, ensuing within the lack of about 1.three million jobs, and amongst people who have seen the largest income declines are a mixture of crimson and blue states.

Republicans even have taken situation with different spending within the invoice they deem unrelated to COVID-19 aid, together with for some transportation tasks derided by Republicans as “pork.” (At the least two of these tasks have been removed from the Democrats’ invoice.)

Nonetheless, the Republican invoice comprises lots of the identical non-health spending-related objects within the Democratic invoice, although typically with considerably much less funding. Cruz might not agree with the proposal proffered by 10 of his fellow Republicans within the Senate. But it surely’s a stretch for Cruz to categorise 91% of the Democrats plan as “a partisan want listing” and for McCarthy to say 91% is spent on Democrats “paying off … allies.” At the least $600 billion of the Democrats’ plan can rightly be referred to as bipartisan.

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Source: FactChecking Cruz’s Partisan Spin on COVID-19 Bill

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