As Congress prepares to pass a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill rolled into a consolidated appropriations package – with funding for assistance for households and businesses, along with vaccine distribution and other pandemic-related measures, the bill also includes a ton of pork per usual.
We already know about the $600 checks for each adult and dependent. This time, however, ‘mixed-status’ households where eligible citizens live with illegal immigrants, will not only receive payments – they can retroactively claim benefits after being left out of the last round.
The bill also includes $300 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits, and would extend unemployment to 50 weeks for both state and federal programs, vs. the standard 26 weeks.
And now, on to the pork… which includes billions to foreign countries, US military weapons purchases which go above and beyond their budgets, $40 million for the Kennedy Center, and nearly $200 million so that federal HIV/AIDS workers overseas can buy cars and car insurance, among other things.
A minimum of $3.3 billion in grants to Israel.
Also included is $453 million to Ukraine, on top of the $400 million Trump eventually released. No word on how much of that goes to the ‘big guy.’
$10 million for “gender programs” in Pakistan.
$1.3 billion to Egypt, and $700 million to Sudan.
$135 million to Burma, $85.5 million to Cambodia, $1.4 billion for an “Asia Reassurance Initiative Act,” and $130 million to Nepal.
$4 billion for Navy weapons procurement, $2 billion for Space Force and $2 billion for Air Force missiles.
BUREAUCRATIC BONANZA AND OTHER MALARKEY
$208 million to upgrade the Census Bureau’s computer systems (which couldn’t have waited until the next count in 2030?).
$40 million for the Kennedy Center, and funding to discourage teenagers from drinking and hooking up.
$193 million for federal HIV/AIDS workers to buy cars and car insurance overseas, and a feminist museum.
Funding for a commission to educate consumers “about the dangers associated with using or storing portable fuel containers for flammable liquids near an open flame.” (What?)
Just remember, $600 is a significant amount…