Prior to House Democrats passing their massive $1.9 trillion stimulus package early Saturday, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar (Ariz.) introduced an amendment increasing the stimulus check amount to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for married couples.
The proposed amendment was meant to highlight the wasteful spending on items completely unrelated to coronavirus-related relief.
Gosar's amendment proposed eliminating 10 sections from the legislation that used taxpayer money to fund items unrelated to COVID relief.
Specifically, Gosar sought to eliminate spending for:
- Farm loan assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers
- National Endowment for the Arts
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- Institute of Museum and Library Services
- So-called "Vaccine confidence activities"
- "Global health" initiatives
- Family planning
- Capital investment grants
- National Railroad Passenger Corporation grants
- Special financial assistance program for financially troubled multi-employer plans
The billions of dollars saved by eliminating funding for such non-COVID related items should be given back to struggling Americans in the form of increased stimulus checks, Gosar said.
In fact, Gosar explained on Twitter that "only 9% of Pelosi's $1.9 trillion 'plan' is related to COVID-19."
"I offered an amendment to prioritize $10,000 stimulus checks to Americans most affected by COVID-19 and lockdowns," the Arizona Republican said.
"Instead, Democrats chose foreign aid, Big Tech transit, and Pelosi's political priorities over direct relief to American citizens," he added.
"Governement (sic) ordered the shutdown and broke the back of the economy. Break it, buy it," Gosar said. "Americans need help with car payments, mortgage, rent, and everyday necessities. The people, not government, corporations, or billionaires, need this help."
Only 9% of Pelosi’s $1.9 trillion “plan” is related to COVID-19. I offered an amendment providing $10k stimulus to… https://t.co/KQBLLT4G86— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS) 1614465001.0
Did the amendment pass?
The amendment was rejected by Democrats, who ultimately passed their stimulus bill.
The $1.9 trillion legislation includes the controversial federal minimum wage hike, which the Senate parliamentarian has already ruled cannot be included in the Senate version of the bill if it should be passed in the upper chamber through the budget reconciliation process.
Two Democrats ultimately crossed party lines and voted against the bill: Reps. Jared Golden (Maine) and Kurt Schrader (Ore.).
Golden later explained that he voted against the bill because of the wasteful spending unrelated to COVID relief.
"This bill addresses urgent needs, and then buries them under a mountain of unnecessary or untimely spending," Golden said. "In reviewing the bill in its full scope, less than 20 percent of the total spending addresses core COVID challenges that are immediately pressing: funding for vaccine distribution and testing, and emergency federal unemployment programs."