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Dems block amendments to prevent COVID relief funds going to China in $2T bill

The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. (Dreamstime/TNS)
March 01, 2021

On Friday, Democrat lawmakers in the House of Representatives’ Rules Committee blocked multiple proposed amendments to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill H.R. 1319 that would have prevented relief funds from going to China.

Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) proposed one of the broadest amendments, known as Amendment 190, which would have blocked any relief funds from going to any firm owned by China or the Chinese Community Party. Barr submitted the amendment but it was not taken up by lawmakers before the House voted to pass the bill and send it over to the Senate on Saturday.

Introducing his amendment, Barr said, “The coronavirus, as you all know, started in China. It was made worse by the Chinese Communist Party suppressing information about the spread of the virus and in no way should the CCP be able to further benefit from weaponizing the global supply chain and receiving the U.S. taxpayer funds.”

“My amendment ensures that none of the funding in this bill, and particularly none of the $10 billion dollars in the international affairs funding, goes to entities owned by the Chinese government or the CCP,” Barr added.

Barr said his amendments are “common sense” and said his colleagues should have had no reason to oppose them.

“American tax dollars should benefit the American people during a pandemic, not undermine the national security interests of the United States,” Barr said.

Barr said allowing COVID relief funding to go to China would “only further prove the lunacy of this, a nearly $2 trillion dollar spending blowout that is being rushed through the House on a party line vote.”

Barr’s amendment was co-sponsored Republican Reps. Scott Perry (PA); Ann Wagner (MO); Jeff Duncan (SC); Michael Guest (MS); Jim Baird (IN); Brian Mast (FL); David Joyce (OH); Ashley Hinson (IA); and Bill Johnson (OH).

Amendment 190 never got a vote in the House Rules Committee. The committee only took up 28 of the proposed amendments to the COVID relief bill and defeated every Republican-proposed amendment on a party-line vote with 4 Republican Yeas to 8 Democrat Nays.

After his amendment was left out, Barr said “COVID-19 relief funds should not be used to subsidize businesses or entities owned by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Any relief bill should be targeted to strengthen American businesses and the American economy, not be used as a vehicle to funnel taxpayer dollars to the CCP.  Democrats are continuing their soft on China policies by voting against this common sense amendment.”

The Rules Committee also voted against two other amendments aimed at stopping covid funds going to China. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) introduced Amendment 21 to block any funds for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) projects that use mineral energy mined using forced labor in foreign countries, including China. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) introduced Amendment 22 to block any colleges or universities from receiving funds through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund if they have any partnership with any entity owned or controlled by the Chinese government. Both amendments were defeated on party lines.