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Congressman Bentz Votes Against $1,900,000,000,000 House Spending Bill

February 27, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) voted against H.R.1319, the $1.9 trillion spending bill, which passed the United States House of Representatives 219-212. The bill moves to the United States Senate for consideration.

Congressman Bentz released the following statement regarding his vote against H.R.1319:

“There is no doubt that because of the COVID-19 virus and the shutdowns resulting from it, some American families and businesses are truly devastated. In recognition of this, Congress has previously passed five bipartisan, pandemic-related packages totaling more than $3.5 trillion. This bill will add another $1.9 trillion to that previous amount. These trillions of dollars are going to have to be paid back some day, so it is essential that our money be used for those who truly need help.

“This bill does contain provisions which are truly necessary and which I support, such as funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, extended unemployment benefits, and vaccine development and distribution. But we all know Democrats have also chosen to include billions upon billions of dollars that have nothing to do with COVID relief. We Republicans offered more than 200 amendments to this bill – including commonsense proposals to protect jobs, to provide mental health services for unemployed workers, to limit relief funds to use for pandemic-related expenses only, and to ensure that schools reopen safely. However, Democrats rejected all but one of these amendments.

“The bottom line is that this bill fails to target the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. Less than 9 percent of the funds will go directly to combat the virus through public health spending, and the funding for stimulus checks fails to target those who truly need help. And of the $130 billion in spending set aside for our nation’s schools, only 5 percent is actually spent in 2021 – meaning there is almost no incentive provided to our schools to reopen anytime soon. Additionally, the bill spends billions on items totally unrelated to the pandemic and includes: a $15 minimum wage hike that would devastate small businesses; policies that pay people more not to work than to work; bailouts for mismanaged public union pensions; policies that give federal bureaucrats better paid leave than those which are available to essential workers; provisions that undermine the Hyde Amendment; and overly broad bailouts for states regardless of their responses to the pandemic and their current financial needs.

“Notwithstanding the good in this bill, the excess expenditures included are too damaging to our country’s future to allow me to support it. And even though many Americans choose to believe otherwise, all too soon we will have to pay back the $5.4 trillion price tag for these spending bills through higher taxes, rampant inflation, or both. We could have – and should have – done better.”