President-elect Joe Biden greeted the passage Monday night of a massive, 6,000-page coronavirus relief and spending bill with calls for more spending on the pandemic in the new year.
The House and the Senate both passed the bill by overwhelming, veto-proof majorities after having just a few hours to read the voluminous text of the legislation. The bill provided $900 in coronavirus relief funding, including $300 for expanded federal unemployment benefits and $600 checks for households — half of the amounts provided by initial relief legislation earlier this year. But it also included $1.4 trillion to fund the rest of the government — including massive pork projects and pet causes of politicians on either side of the aisle.
I applaud this relief package, but our work is far from over. Starting in the new year, Congress will need to immediately get to work on support for our COVID-19 plan.
My message to everyone out there struggling right now: help is on the way. https://t.co/ktET5loEnm
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 22, 2020
The Washington Post noted:
Biden’s assessment, made repeatedly in recent weeks, echoes the view of many Democrats who see the bill as the beginning of a negotiation, not the end. The notion that more aid is necessary — Biden at times has said talks should start as early as January — sets up perhaps the first major legislative test for the new president and his self-proclaimed negotiating skills.
Democrats had held back from passing a coronavirus relief bill before the election, lest it help President Donald Trump. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) all but admitted as much, when asked why he had been willing to accept less spending now than she had demanded before the election. Pelosi had used such tactics before, delaying the passage of a bipartisan relief bill in the spring, and stalling the expansion of the Payment Protection Program earlier in the year.
Biden and his party hope to pass even more spending next year, perhaps providing the funds to “blue” states and local governments that Republicans had been unwilling to approve.
Biden has openly embraced the idea of restoring the practice of earmarks — allowing members of Congress to attach pet projects to bills — as a way of encouraging cooperation. Republicans barred earmarks, which many view as corrupt, after they took the House in the 2010 midterm elections.
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.