February 24, 2021 2:23 pm
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‘Chock-full of spending porn’: Sen. Kennedy slams Biden’s COVID relief bill
chock full of spending porn sen kennedy slams bidens covid relief bill

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy (R) slammed President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Wednesday, telling Fox News it is “chock-full of spending porn” unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This isn’t a coronavirus bill,” Kennedy said on the Fox News program “America’s Newsroom.” “This is a left-of-Lenin, neo-socialist wish list.”

“This is chock-full of spending porn,” he added, citing funding for transit projects, bridges, language preservation, and “billions for people who are in our country illegally.”

“I am for spending additional monies [sic] to combat the coronavirus,” said Kennedy, who’s on the Senate Budget Committee, “but this bill isn’t it.”

A large amount of the funding for the relief bill would not be spent until 2022 and after, one of the reasons the Louisiana Republican cited for his argument that Biden’s proposed COVID-19 relief bill is unrelated to the pandemic.

“The motto of the Biden administration seems to be: ‘We can’t spend too much,’” Kennedy said at another point in the interview, calling the administration’s approach “superficial” and “almost infantile.”

“Either that or the people advising President Biden have an opium habit,” he added.

“The objective is not to spend money–it’s not how much you spend, it’s what you spend it on,” Kennedy also said.

MORE ON SEN. KENNEDY: GOP, Dem senators confront Neera Tanden over ‘vicious’ personal attacks

Aspects of the bill have come under scrutiny from many Republicans and moderate Democrats, such as $1,400 stimulus checks for mixed-status families with undocumented immigrants; allowing Planned Parenthood to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds designed to keep small businesses afloat; and roughly $600 million for additional emergency paid family leave for federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers, according to a Republican Study Committee memo released Monday.

One of the things that Kennedy considered mismanaged spending was the allocation of $70 billion for K-12 school funding. Only $4 billion of the $70 billion, according to Fox News, has been spent with hundreds of billions more proposed to be sent to schools in the relief bill, which is likely not to be fully spent until 2024.

Some moderate Democrats, such as Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), have indicated they might not support the required $15 minimum wage in the bill, which throws a wrench in the Democrats’ effort to pass it with the slimmest of majorities in the Senate. For the bill to pass, all 50 Democratic senators would need to vote in favor of it and have Vice President Kamala Harris exercise her power as the tie-breaking vote.

RELATED: Sen. Sinema breaks with Democrats on $15 minimum wage

On the other side of the aisle, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) blasted the “clunker” relief bill for a third of its funds–$700 billion, according to a Congressional Budget Office report–not being spent until 2024 and the inclusion of unnecessary expenses in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday.

The bill, the Utah Republican argued, “would waste hundreds of billions of dollars, do nothing meaningful to get kids back to school, and enact policies that work against job creation.”

In response to the $15 minimum wage provision in the relief bill, Romney and Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) on Tuesday proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $10 instead, but with the caveat that businesses would be required to use the internet-based E-Verify system designed to prevent employers from hiring undocumented workers. However, it is unclear at this point if such a proposal will garner enough support.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), according to Fox News, says he expects the relief bill will be passed in the Senate by March 14.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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