After months of negotiations, Republicans and Democrats finally came to an agreement on a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill Monday night, but the bill includes much more than just relief for Americans.
According to the legislation, an “Economic Support Fund” totaling $700,000,000 will be allocated for assistance for Sudan. Several other aspects of foreign assistance detailed in the bill showed $135 million going to Burma, $85 million to Cambodia, $1.4 billion for the “Asia Reassurance Initiative Act,” $130 million to Nepal, $1.3 million to Egypt, $453 million to Ukraine, $25 million to Pakistan and $500 million to Israel.
The more than 5,000-page spending bill was so large it had to be pushed around on a cart.
The bill does provide some Americans with $600 stimulus checks, however, it also allocates a substantial amount of money to domestic arts centers in addition to addressing figures like Smokey The Bear and the Dalai Lama.
Rep. Thomas Massie from Kentucky took to Twitter to draw attention to a portion of the bill that funds “gender programs in Pakistan” for no less than $10,000,000.
The legislation also allocated $26,400,000 to the Kennedy Center, $154,000,000 to the National Art Gallery, and $14,000,000 to the Woodrow Wilson Center.
On page 5,100 of the bill, Congress makes an effort to legislate the “Tibetan reincarnation process” of the Dalai Lama.
According to USA Today, millions of unemployed workers in the United States who filed for unemployment benefits amid government-mandated shutdowns have yet to receive a single payment or response as of December 21.
In addition to $600 stimulus checks for some Americans, federal unemployment benefits of $300 per week were extended until March.
A small number of Congressmen and women lamented the bill, crossing party lines to point out that they weren’t given adequate time to review it.
Sen. Ted Cruz retweeted Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who explained that the second-largest bill in American history was only given to Congress hours before the vote.
“[Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] is right. It’s ABSURD to have a $2.5 trillion spending bill negotiated in secret and then — hours later — demand an up-or-down vote on a bill nobody has had time to read,” Cruz tweeted.
Ocasio-Cortez voted in favor of the bill while Cruz voted against it.
Rep. Mark Green echoed their concerns, tweeting, “5,593 pages to read and the vote is in 4 hours. That’s almost 1,000 pages an hour! This is INSANITY and the definition of dysfunction.”
“This is why the American people are so angry,” the congressman added. “This is swamp dysfunction. We have to get Nancy Pelosi out of the Speaker’s chair. Period.”
The House of Representatives voted 359-53 on the massive stimulus bill, with 50 Republicans, Democrats Rashida Tlaib and Tulsi Gabbard and Libertarian Justin Amash voting against the massive legislation.
In the Senate, the vote went 92-6 in favor of the bill. The six GOP senators who voted against the bill were: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Scott, Marsha Blackburn, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the $600 stimulus checks were “significant.”
On page 2,487 of the bill, a portion of United States code that gave six months in jail to anyone who misused the “Smokey Bear” character or name was repealed.