PHOENIX – On Friday, Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs led the charge against any effort to pass any additional coronavirus relief for now. In a letter to President Trump, Biggs and colleagues “advise caution in considering an additional round of spending outside of the regular process before we have seen the results of the previous three rounds of spending.”
Biggs with Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Johnson and 20 other members of Congress, including Rep. Debbie Lesko, are encouraging the President to oppose any additional coronavirus relief “while the nation awaits the impact of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act.”
“Our nation is facing an unprecedented public health emergency, and President Trump has shown extraordinary leadership during this difficult time. I have enormous sympathy for all Americans who are ill, as well to those who are out of work. However, even in the midst of this terrible crisis, we must continue be good stewards of our nation’s finances, challenging though that responsibility is during periods like this,” said Biggs in a press release.
“Last week, Congress passed the largest relief bill in U.S. history after merely a few hours of debate, instantly adding trillions of dollars more to our already unsustainable $23.6 trillion debt,” continued Biggs. “And yet, even though the ink has barely dried on the CARES Act, there are already those who want to see more rounds of enormously costly legislation. Just a month ago, our economy was the envy of the world, but is now under tremendous duress. Even with the solid economic growth we were enjoying before the COVID-19 outbreak, our federal structural deficit exceeded $1 trillion per year. With the implementation of recent relief bills, we have added trillions more to the deficit.”
According to Politico, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now calling for “a much more focused “Phase 4” relief package to address immediate needs related to the coronavirus pandemic, a departure from the sprawling legislation she and other top Democrats were pushing earlier this week.”
The $2 trillion relief package President Trump signed last week includes millions in pork:
$10,804,687,000 for international development
$350,000,000 for refugee resettlement
$93,000,000 Congress ($25 million of which is for “salaries and expenses”)
$75,000,000 for PBS stations
$75,000,000 for the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities
$75,000,000 National Endowment for the Humanities
$50,000,000 for the Institute of Museum and Library Services
$25,000,000 for the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts
$7,500,000 for the Smithsonian Institution
Text of the letter:
April 3, 2020
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20502
Dear Mr. President:
We applaud you for the heroic efforts you and the Administration have taken in the face of the largest public health challenge our nation has faced in over a century.
Now that the CARES Act has been signed into law, we urge you to stand against the additional requests that are already circulating for a rushed fourth and fifth phase of relief. Most of the relief funding from Phase 2 and Phase 3 has not even been distributed yet. We advise caution in considering an additional round of spending outside of the regular process before we have seen the results of the previous three rounds of spending.
During this time of crisis, we have been enormously encouraged by the efforts of our brave doctors, nurses, first responders, law enforcement personnel, and others on the front lines of this struggle, as well as by the resilience of Americans across the country. We also have great sympathy for the millions of workers who are currently unemployed, and above all for the families of those who have lost their lives.
However, while our nation will win the war against the coronavirus, it may not win the war against our mounting debt. Even before the CARES Act was signed into law, the national debt stood at $23.6 trillion, which equates to nearly $73,000 for every citizen—man, woman, and child. Now we will add at least $2 trillion to this already unsustainable sum. Every dollar we add to the debt today makes it increasingly less likely that we will be able to provide even the basic services our citizens have come to expect in the decades to come.
While each of us hold differing opinions about whether the CARES Act was warranted to meet an unprecedented crisis, we are united in the belief that going forward the U.S. simply cannot afford any more deficit spending of this magnitude. Any further emergency relief or stimulus bills, if necessary, should be solely designed to restore and grow the U.S. economy with as little long-term government intervention as possible. Additionally, and at least as importantly, any spending in potential future legislation must be offset as much as possible.
Prosperity will return to America, just as it has after every other crisis in our nation’s past. And we fully expect prosperity to return more quickly this time, Mr. President – due in large measure to your leadership. In the meantime, we must ensure that we do not compromise the future of our children and grandchildren or alter the free-market values that have made us the envy of the world.
Andy Harris, M.D.
W. Gregory Steube