Senate Republicans railed against President Biden‘s $1.9 trillion coronavirus legislation as a liberal bailout to blue states as they plan to make passage of the bill as painful as possible for Democrats this week.
Republicans have lashed out against the $350 billion allocated in the bill for state and local governments and said the new funding formula disproportionally benefits the blue states of New York and California.
“This bill would reward bad actions, because states who have not managed themselves well are the ones who are going to benefit from this,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. “It is like manna from heaven for them.”
Blackburn was among nine GOP senators at a Capitol news conference Wednesday to say residents of states with healthy finances shouldn’t have to provide funds to help liberal states.
“We have the good people of Iowa being asked to support blue state bailouts,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said. “And you know who receives the most in these blue state bailouts? … Chuck Schumer’s state of New York and Nancy Pelosi’s state of California.”
Republicans were armed with a new Congressional Research Service report out Wednesday that found the formula that Democrats used to divvy up the $350 billion to states is different than the formula used in the previous bipartisan CARES Act that doled out $150 billion in coronavirus relief funds.
The report, obtained by Fox News, shows that state governments that would receive the most money under Biden’s plan are California at $26 billion, Texas at $16.8 billion, New York at $12.6 billion, Florida with $10 billion, Illinois at $7.5 billion and Pennsylvania at $7.3 billion.
But if Democrats had used a similar formula as the CARES Act, California would get roughly $5 billion less and New York about $2 billion less, the report found. Meanwhile, red-state Texas still fares better until the new Biden formula with about $1 billion more, but Florida takes a hit with getting about $1.5 billion less. Georgia is also docked more than $1 billion under the new formula.
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., blasted the $1.9 trillion bill as a “wish list of liberal spending.” He said the $350 billion in state and local funding was Biden’s “payoff to his Democrat supporters in Illinois, in California [and] in New York.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will try to get Biden’s signature piece of legislation through the Senate this week with the slimmest of Democratic majorities. The measure already passed the House last week with no GOP support.
Senate Republicans plan to unleash a “maximum pressure, maximum exposure” strategy as Schumer tries to get the bill over the finish line, according to Stephen Bradford, a spokesman for the Senate Republican Conference.
Republicans plan to offer unlimited amendments to force Democrats to take hard votes on things like money for reopening schools, securing the border, funding abortion overseas and checks to undocumented immigrant families. The so-called “vote-a-rama” could last into the overnight hours Thursday into Friday as Republicans try to squeeze Democrats on last-minute changes to the bill that Republican senators overwhelmingly oppose.
Schumer, however, said the legislation is overwhelmingly popular with the American public.
“It seems like the only people who are dead-set against this bill are Republican senators,” Schumer said Wednesday. “Not Republicans out in the country, not Republican mayors, not Republican business people, not Republican small businesses.”
The legislation will extend unemployment benefits, provide another round of stimulus checks, feed the hungry, help small businesses, boost vaccine distribution and school reopenings and provide more rental assistance and eviction protections.
“Let me tell you, this bill is not a liberal wish list,” Schumer said. “This is an American wish list.”