The U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive $900 billion coronavirus relief and stimulus bill on Monday evening, mere hours after the nearly 6,000-page legislation was released.
It was unlikely any members read the entire legislation.
The bill, which included $1.4 trillion in stopgap spending to prevent a government shutdown, was ostensibly the result of bipartisan negotiations that reached an agreement less than 24 hours before. It includes $600 stimulus checks for American households and a temporary expansion of federal unemployment benefits by $300, half the amounts paid earlier this year.
But the legislation also includes many hidden provisions completely unrelated to coronavirus, many of which appear to be the work of individual legislators, acting at the behest of specific lobbyists and interest groups who seized the opportunity.
The bill includes tax benefits for racehorse owners; hundreds of millions of dollars in economic aid to the Palestinians; and a congressional statement on U.S. policy on the succession of the Dalai Lama in Tibet, among many other obscure provisions.
Given six hours between the release of the bill, and an average reading pace of roughly 5 minutes per page of technical material, members of Congress could have been expected to read about 72 pages, assuming no meals or bathroom breaks.
The bill passed 359-53, and now heads to the Senate. Republicans said they were glad that the bill did not include bailouts for profligate “blue” states, though it also did not include liability protection for small businesses for coronavirus lawsuits.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.