All Republican lawmakers voted against the 1.9 trillion dollar American Rescue Plan. Every single one without exception. They did it because, they insist, “only 9% of it is related to COVID-19.” Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, for instance, said that she voted against the COVID relief bill because “only 9% of this bill is COVID-related” while “the rest is allocated to liberal pet projects and blue state bailouts.” This is a trope that is being parroted over and over online by people like Blackburn and their mouth-breathing, slaphappy constituents.
Is it true? Not according to snopes.com , and not according to a simple reading of the bill. Snopes calls the claim “mostly false,” which is their laconic way of saying it’s a huge lie with some elements of the truth here and there to hide the fact that it’s a huge lie. As Snopes puts it, “The vast majority of this bill will provide financial relief to people, businesses, and governments who have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.” [Italics mine.]
Let’s drill down a little more, just in case that’s not enough to convince some skeptics who insist it’s full of “Democrat pork.” In reality, about 22% of the bill is for $1,400 stimulus checks to help families and individuals affected by COVID-19, 18% of the bill is for state and local aid to prevent layoffs and service cuts suffered as a direct result of COVID-19, 13% is for unemployment insurance for people who lost their jobs because of, you guessed it, COVID-19, 11% is for tax credits and child care benefits because of, that’s right, COVID-19, 9% to reopen schools because of COVID-19, another 9% for vaccinations for COVID-19. There’s more but we’ll stop there. The rest is for farmers and FEMA disaster relief and so on. I think you get the idea.
So when Republicans insisted that “less than 10% of the bill is for COVID,” they were straight up lying. There’s really no way to soft pedal it. You can’t, for instance, say that’s just one way of looking at it. It’s just a lie, end of discussion. Republican lawmakers, most of whom are lawyers, already know this. They lied because they didn’t want Democrats to get credit for it, and they sold their souls long ago to despicable political hackery. They don’t serve the American people, they serve their own agenda, and they will lie openly, shamelessly and without reservation to protect it.
As the saying goes, success has many fathers, failure is an orphan. So what are Republicans doing now that the bill has passed and people are starting to wake up to the fact that it’s a fantastic success? They are slowly starting to change the narrative. Some of them are tacitly trying to take credit for the bill, like Republican Senator Roger Wicker, who tweeted that the bill has helped independent restaurant owners and small businesses survive the pandemic, without mentioning the embarrassing fact that he voted against it. He’s hoping no one will notice.
The good news is that we now own the majority in the House and the Senate, so this kind of behavior by Republicans, toxic and inimical to the American people, will be used aggressively against them in campaigns as they come up for re-election in 2022 and 2024. They think they’re feathering their nests when, in reality, they’re actually digging their own graves. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.