Coronavirus

How Congress Could Send Bigger Stimulus Checks, Fund School Reopening, and Save $1 Trillion

Rep. Peter Meijer has a plan to provide bigger stimulus checks to needy Americans while cutting extraneous elements from the Biden relief bill.

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President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill took its first major step toward passage over the weekend. But political circumstances and the current state of the pandemic suggest that Congress ought to reconsider this approach.

In comments to reporters on Saturday, Biden urged the Senate to take "quick action" to pass the bill after the House of Representatives passed it in the early morning hours that same day.

"We have no time to waste," Biden said, according to a pool report. "If we act now decisively, quickly, and boldly, we can finally get ahead of this virus. We can finally get our economy moving again. And the people of this country have suffered far too much for too long. We need to relieve that suffering."

Biden has been pushing this message since before he was inaugurated—the basic framework of this $1.9 trillion stimulus bill was announced in early January. He and congressional Democrats have touted the package as an urgently needed response to a still-out-of-control pandemic, a necessary step to getting schools reopened, and a way to help jobless Americans make ends meet until a full recovery is achieved.

That message is at odds with much of the bill itself, which is larded up with things like an increase to the federal minimum wage, funding for a new subway in San Jose, California, and billions of dollars in supposedly urgent school funding that wouldn't actually be used for years to come. About $312 billion of the bill's overall spending has nothing to do with the pandemic at all, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), including changes to tax credit programs for parents and an expansion of the Affordable Care Act's health insurance subsidies.

The package would also spend about $500 billion bailing out state and local governments, far in excess of what would repair COVID-19 budget holes. The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, estimates that states and local governments need about $100 billion in direct aid, while the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive think tank, has called for $225 billion in aid. Part of the discrepancy is due to the fact that the Biden plan was built around the assumption that state budgets would be facing an 8 percent decline in revenue this year. The Wall Street Journal reports that state tax revenue declined by a mere 1.6 percent instead.

Beyond all that, a clear-eyed assessment of how the federal government should respond to COVID-19 in March 2021 must also take into account the fact that the pandemic is clearly ebbing. This weekend saw new daily records for vaccinations and the approval of a third vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration, a development that promises even more vaccine supply in the weeks and months ahead. New cases, current hospitalizations, and daily deaths have fallen to levels not seen in months. It's not over yet, of course, but the current situation seems significantly different from where things stood in early January.

Senate Democrats appear willing to make some changes to the bill before putting it up for a vote. The much-discussed minimum wage increase is likely to be removed now that Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has ruled that the wage hike could not be passed with a simple majority via the reconciliation process. Meanwhile, CNBC reported on Monday that Senate Democrats are abandoning plans to include a backdoor minimum wage hike that could have been accomplished by revoking tax breaks from businesses that pay workers less than $15 per hour.

It's good to remove a job-killing proposal that's completely unrelated to the pandemic. Still, more could be done. Given current economic and COVID trends, Congress could revisit a smaller, bipartisan proposal that Democratic leaders rejected in early February for being insufficiently expensive. That earlier plan would have spent about $618 billion, with the funding focused on direct payments to many Americans, expanded unemployment benefits, and money aimed at reopening schools.

Now Rep. Peter Meijer (R–Mich.) is touting a revamped version of that proposal as the Direct Dollars Over Government Excess (DOGE) plan. (Yes, it's named for that dog meme.) Meijer contrasts it with the Biden bill, which he calls a "grab bag of gifts for special interests."

Meijer's plan would send direct payments of up to $2,400 to individuals who earned less than $50,000 last year and households that earned less than $100,000. That's $1,000 more per person than the Biden plan would provide, but with payments phasing out at lower levels. The DOGE plan would also extend the boosted federal unemployment payments of $200 per week (down from the current level of $300 per week and Biden's proposal of $400 per week) through the end of July.

Meijer says his proposal would cost about $992 billion. That means removing the chaff from the House-passed relief bill could save as much as $1 trillion from being added to the national debt—and every little bit helps, considering that COVID-19 emergency spending has already added about $3.3 trillion to the deficit, according to the CRFB.

Needless to say, Senate Democrats are unlikely to seriously consider any alternative to the House-passed bill at this stage. We're likely instead to see some much more modest tinkering, after which the Senate will send the Biden plan back to the House, which will then pass the new version and send it to the president's desk.

And you can expect that to happen pretty quickly now. The longer Congress delays, the more apparent it will become that the need for a major bill has evaporated.

NEXT: Ayanna Pressley Revives Justin Amash’s Bill To End Qualified Immunity

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  1. >>a plan to provide bigger stimulus checks

    ya. repeal the 16th.

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  2. A great way! Some points too!
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  3. The Harry formerly known as Prince has been in the news recently, and as much as I try to ignore the royals, it’s hard to miss his picture, which looks remarkably like this Meijer fellow.

    1. Makes sense, since Morris Day was the king.

      1. this dance ain’t for everybody, only the sexy people.

    2. Have you ever seen them both in the same place at the same time? No? Didn’t think so.

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    3. Meijer Schmeier.

      You NEVER see Harry the Ex-Prince and Quarterback Carson Wentz in the same room. Hmmmmm….

      https://images.app.goo.gl/MHFSscAAxHww7S9U9

      1. Damn that’s scary!

        1. Only if you’re _In_Philly.

    4. He’s in the Witness Protection program, hiding out as a member of congress, at least until the protesters outed him

  4. If we changed the $2000 checks to 10,000 Lira, we’d save lots of money, and most people would think it’s a great deal.

    1. I got fined 17,000 Lira once, at the Milan airport, a few years before they switched over to the Euro. It was around $7.

    2. We could fund a lot of this if we just started to organ harvest the progressives. They should be enthusiastic at the idea. As they love redistributing things.

  5. People don’t need cash, they just need to get back to work and school. But that doesn’t happen because old people dependent on social security and medicare say, “Gimme my check and y’all can go f- yourselves.” And, “F- the teachers, gimme my vaccine!” They have no skin in the game. If they were dependent on their families they would demand that the economy reopen. These social programs are bankrupting the country even more than COVID relief. They must be abolished. Surprisingly, most kids still support them, even though old people just stole a year of their lives. Why?

    1. No shit – get those old codgers back to work!

      No dude, it doesn’t happen because TPTB are front running this thing, and are wrecking the economy so they can do a big reset, where they will hold access to everything, and everyone will be a serf…even some of the useful idiots, which will be the only justice in all this.

      1. Take care of your grandparents. Don’t foist them on the state. That’s the problem. Like I said, we have to end social security and medicare. They are wrecking the country financially and morally. Enough of your concern trolling. Instead, beg your parents/grandparents to release you from their death grip. It’s the only way to avert the great reset.

        1. Turn them into soylent green!

          1. “Yes let’s bankrupt the country so old people can eke out a few more months. That’s the real libertarian thing to do. Prove I said that you liar.”

            HAHA nah.

            1. So that’s a yes on soylent green?

              1. Gosh if only you fought the socialists on enemy territory with the same cohesion and persistence you squabble with your allies here in your safe space, Trump would have stood a chance. But you didn’t and he lost and you have only yourself to blame.

                And that problem will get worse as more people become dependent on social security and medicare. They must be abolished. If you genuinely care about old people, no one’s stopping you from funding their care.

                1. I’m still pretty sure that’s a yes, but I’m starting to have doubts.

                  1. OK and that’s why Trump lost. There was no ‘election fraud’ and no excuse for violence or insurrection. If you want to win you will have to bravely fight the socialists not cowardly quibble with your allies.

                    And yes we must end social security and medicare. That’s fine, old people are the richest generation in history and can easily afford to care for themselves and their needy peers without bankrupting the country.

                    1. OK

                      Just pay me back the money I have paid into FICA at 7% compounded.

                2. I favor organ harvesting the progs. That would solve so many problems.

                  1. OK and that’s why Trump lost and you have only yourself to blame. The trials of the insurrectionists will not go well for them despite your generously persistent defense.

                    1. Why are you having a separate conversation with yourself?

  6. “If we act now decisively, quickly, and boldly, we can finally get ahead of this virus. We can finally get our economy moving again.”

    “Well, shucks! Apparently when we acted we missed one of the required adjectives.”

    1. By all means and for God’s sake, let Biden “get ahead of it” before it’s gone!

      1. Now that the snow is melting I will quickly, decisively and boldly clear your driveway for you.

  7. How Congress Could Send Bigger Stimulus Checks, Fund School Reopening, and Save $1 Trillion

    Speaking of saving $1 trillion, the Biden administration is preparing to go down the road of reparations by doing an end-run around congress.

    You think things are ugly now, wait until the government explicitly starts delivering spoils based on your ancestry and skin color.

    Wrong within normal parameters still? Anyone wanna back off that bullshit statement?

    1. “We have to start breaking down systemic racism and barriers that have held people of color back and especially African Americans,” he said. “[W]e have to do stuff now.”

      That’s great, but you aren’t going to accomplish anything until you acknowledge that many of those barriers are related to black culture, the welfare state and its perverse incentives, etc. If you pretend the whole problem is that people need to stop being racist, you won’t fix shit. Any reasonably intelligent black person can break through any barriers currently in place by working hard and getting some education.

      1. How dare you come here with actual facts and honesty! Don’t you know that narratives and grievance mongering are all that is allowed?!

        1. Everything is so terrible and unfair.

          This is fact.

        2. “grievance mongering” — perfectly phrased!

      2. Anyone want to put an over/under on the percentage of “reparations” that will actually get distributed to the black community after it gets run through the church pastor/community center inner-city graft machine?

        For all the deliberately opaque rhetoric that Cedric Richmond is trying to dress this in (LOL–“we have to do stuff now”), ultimately the black community is going to be expecting some kind of “reparations” UBI (RUBI), like a SNAP card getting reloaded every month. They aren’t going to give a crap about “mo’ money for dem programs” if they think they’ll just get spending cash direct from Uncle Sam every month, like SS and disability recipients.

        You ever see what happens when SNAP cards aren’t approved for purchase, or the reload date gets missed? That’s a preview of what to expect if the RUBI is implemented, only on a much broader scale. What exactly is the point of doing this for a demographic that makes up about 13% of the population, and declining, when their experience isn’t exactly unique in the annals of human history–other than as an implicit bribe to not riot or loot stores?

        Maybe they can just call it the “Blackgeld,” until the last white person is eliminated, at which point Latino supremacy becomes the dominant ethnic paradigm, and the cultural consensus will be to stop giving a shit.

        1. “Maybe they can just call it the “Blackgeld,” until the last white person is eliminated, at which point Latino supremacy becomes the dominant ethnic paradigm, and the cultural consensus will be to stop giving a shit.”

          And there we go. Keep going.

          I am most interested in “dominant ethnic paradigm” that is something I would like to hear more about. So there is a dominant ethnic and sub dominant ethnics. Is that it?

          Another one is “cultural consensus” having lived in the US near all my life never heard of such a thing. Please explain.

          %”ultimately the black community is going to be expecting some kind of “reparations” UBI (RUBI), like a SNAP card getting reloaded every month”

          Aha so black people just want a handout. Personally I think race is a biological myth.

          1. I am most interested in “dominant ethnic paradigm” that is something I would like to hear more about. So there is a dominant ethnic and sub dominant ethnics. Is that it?

            You could try reading a history book sometime.

            Aha so black people just want a handout.

            “You ever see what happens when SNAP cards aren’t approved for purchase, or the reload date gets missed?” Feel free to pull up the articles/videos.

            Personally I think race is a biological myth.

            Ethnic enmity has been a fact of human society since the beginning. Real, actual human experiences don’t give a fuck what you “think.”

            1. Is ethnic enmity a code word for bigotry?

              1. It’s a statement of fact.

          2. Perhaps you’ve been sleepwalking on black voting patterns since the Great Society.

          3. From The Guardian, June 9th, 2016:

            “A radical approach to gun crime: paying people not to kill each other.”

      3. “That’s great, but you aren’t going to accomplish anything until…”

        So you’re saying that buying votes doesn’t accomplish anything?

    2. It may be somewhat comforting that Barack Obama will have to pay reparations just like all us people of pallor. His mother was white, and therefore is deemed to have prospered off the suffering of slaves, while his father was a Kenyan who had no American slave ancestors. So ante up, Barry.

      1. I can almost guarantee you they won’t make those fine distinctions.

      2. Will Tiger Woods get an exemption?

        1. Yes. And as a biracial bonus he also gets an exemption from the new Pocahontas wealth tax.

          Walking again might be a bigger problem for him.

    3. Want to know how this works, visit any indian reservation. The federal government throws money at them for projects to stimulate the communities and they build huge buildings that rarely get used and then do it all again in a few years. Meanwhile the poverty rates rarely change for the better. Casinos on the other hand, at least we’ll ran casinos by forward looking tribes, really have benefitted some tribes. Capitalism over socialism once again.

      1. Well fucking autocorrect. We’ll makes no sense.

  8. “That means removing the chaff from the House-passed relief bill could save as much as $1 trillion from being added to the national debt”

    Save, as in not allocate or spend $1 trillion? I expect the leadership in Congress, both sides, would call that hate speech, treasonous, and just cause for removal.

    1. The bloat was always the whole point.

      This was clear when the 1.9 trillion total never changed even when the stimulus check amount and threshold was being debated.

      The checks are crumbs to get voters to swallow their poison

  9. The bill as currently written is far too broad and I have for a long time supported a bill that directly targeted people and businesses in need. Having said all that, it far too late to stop this bill from moving forward. The Democrats are determined and there is a lot of support in the country. Those in opposition are primarily reactive and that is never a good position for negotiations. Had opposition gotten out faster with an alternative plan they might have been more successful. Now is too late.

    1. Nobody cares.

      1. True

    2. There was opposition. Something about bailing out state pensions. You might’ve heard about it.

      1. There was even a big election in the middle of this debate. Wanna guess who m4e voted for? Lucky for him, “it far too late to stop this bill from moving forward.” now, so he doesn’t have to concern himself with what he can do about it.

        1. There was an election. One party’s candidate laid out a vision for addressing problems like the pandemic and that economy. The other party’s candidate whined that he had been treated unfairly. I don’t like whiners do you?

          1. One party’s candidate (mostly his handlers actually) laid out a vision where the federal government controls more of our lives and spends more of our money. Which means more to me than your feelings.

            But whatever you have to tell yourself to justify voting for big government leftism that doesn’t require you to admit that you’re a leftist.

      2. As I pointed out in the comment the opposition is reactive. That is we don’t like this, this and this. That is never a good position. This speaks to the fact that the Republican Party has become good at opposition and bad at governing. They are having an increasingly hard time putting together policy and spending far too much time on grievance.

        1. lmao… “good at opposition and bad at governing” — what’s funny is as a LIMITED Government – MAXIMUM Freedom Individual that’s actually a compliment no matter how hard you try to paint tyrannical authority with roses and butterflies.

        2. The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.

          P. J. O’Rourke

          1. Priceless

          2. “prove it” by having the most prosperous economy and lowest unemployment rate since the 60s while encouraging freedom and allowing State’s and Businesses to create the immunity to COVID but don’t let REALITY get in the way of your delusional cliches.

    3. And you slavishly support the democrats.

  10. What good is money to the 100,000 people murdered by the China virus in just one month of the SleepyJoe regime?

  11. I have a plan for how Congress could save 1.9 trillion dollars.

  12. Peter Meijer. So Dreamy!

    1. Token ginger.

      1. I am a Mary Anne guy myself.

        https://youtu.be/64mAgL8G4-E

        Dawn Wells passed away from Covid complications recently.

        1. Ginger was the one you wanted to be seen with at a party. Mary Anne was the one you wanted to bang.

          1. I think Gilligan’s Island would have been far more interesting if Ginger Grant had been Ginger Lynn.

          2. Dawn Wells was the only one who made a lot of money from that show. Her contract gave her residuals from reruns which was unusual at the time.

          3. Not me! I wanted Mrs. Howell for both experience and money and to see Thurston wearing antlers! 😉

    2. I like how there isn’t even commentary about the new amash trying to give away taxpayers money. Instead it is “well not asssss bad, so good?”

      1. But Trump giving away taxpayer money was fine with you.

  13. Needless to say, Senate Democrats are unlikely to seriously consider any alternative to the House-passed bill at this stage.

    Yeah, if you’re suggesting a practical, common-sense bill that doesn’t take into consideration the fact that politicians are corrupt and venal and don’t give two shits about practical and common-sense then it’s not really a practical and common-sense bill, is it? Meijer is just grandstanding and blathering and showing his ass here, he’s not putting forward a serious proposal if he knows (or should know) that there’s no way in hell it’s going anywhere.

    1. It’s not ‘practical’ nearly as much as it is redistributive.

      1. Unlike the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill and nearly everything else that passes Congress, it’s not redistributing wealth from working people to the rich and influential. Meijer is calling the Regressives’ bluff.

  14. Muh $10 million for Pakistani generals to study gender equity!

    1. Oh man, is it bad that your comment can’t be ruled out as sarc? Cuz that’s pretty funny. And sadly, probably true.

  15. “We have no time to waste,” Biden said

    That guy cracks me up.

    1. “If we act now decisively, quickly, and boldly” Translation: Do not question us. Just do what we say.

      1. If we act now decisively, quickly, and boldly”
        He said after over a month went by.

    2. He was mostly speaking for himself. Drop that egg in a glass of water tomorrow and it might float.

      1. The egg only floats with enough salt…like the amount of salt with which one should take any politician’s suggestions…especially the suggestions of Sleepy, Creepy, Crazy, Cranky, Tankie, Corn-Pop, Lunch-Bucket, Shotgun Joe.

  16. How cute.

  17. Of course Boehm would like this, it’s progressive tax and spend.

    1. It’s not even that thoughtful. Meijer is a Republican who voted to impeach Trump, just like Amash. So regardless of how irrelevant he is, Reason has decided he’s interesting, and will cover him.

    2. Where’s the tax? All I see is spend.

      1. Not everyone is getting a check, people who actually pay aren’t getting anything back.

        That’s taxation.

        1. TIL that the government failing to cut me a check is a tax. Do you plan to pay off the national debt instantly by not sending every man woman and child in America a trillion dollars? Who would have thought balancing the budget could be so easy!

          1. Actually, there’s a nice symmetry in the notion that “the government failing to cut me a check is a tax,” given that some in the media recently started describing tax cuts as a cost to the government.

  18. Filip Geljo showed up as Agent Otto in Odd Squad, in November 2014. He featured close by entertainers Dalila Bela, Anna Cathcart, Millie Davis, Sean Michael Kyer, Isaac Kragten, and Olivia Presti.

  19. But it is not about Bigger Stimulus Checks, Fund School Reopening, or even saving $1 Trillion dollars. It is about buying Democratic votes. Reason doesn’t get it.

    1. Reason gets it. They simply do not admit it.

      It’s part of their schtick. They are controlled opposition. If they brought in serious money like the Lincoln Project then they’d be a grift. but they are all working for peanuts.

      1. Of Course, the overlap between the two does help explain Sullum’s support for Cuties.

      2. Woke kids working for peanuts that don’t have a clue what the word libertarian actually means. But everyone has to have a first job.

  20. Meijer says his proposal would cost about $992 billion.

    This is what fiscal conservatism has been reduced to ladies and gentlemen. Not spending less but rather spending less than the other guy; and here comes Reason pretending that’s worthy of applause. Here’s my much more fiscally conservative budget plan:Fuck you, cut spending!

  21. His proposal will go nowhere. Can only hope a couple democrat senators have some sense of fiscal responsibility. I doubt it.

  22. All hail the Gov-Gods and their PLANStation!

    “We the People”‘s law over government? Awe phooey! Constitutional? Right; in the land of ‘pretend’ Nazi-governance who gives a crap? /s

    1. …Or is it better described as the land of Communist governance.

      Communism is a political and economic ideology that advocates for a classless system in which ALL production (fiat-coded: USD) is owned and distributed by [WE] gang-government officials.

      It’s Commie-Money. Selling American’s Communism by their own instinctive GREED and lack of ethical principles to NOT TO STEAL by pointing Gov-Guns at ‘other’ people!

      That day when the peoples government ignores “The Peoples” law over them and becomes Gun toting criminals.

  23. For those of you who just got into politics a few days ago, Congresspeople regularly create a large bill for a supposedly noble goal, then add 10-20% or so more spending that has nothing to do with it, or otherwise highly partisan legislation they could never pass directly, then stand back and lambaste their colleagues who stand against the additional baggage as wanting children to die, or to push grandma’s wheelchair off a cliff.

    These are scum bags. In a partitioning algorithm, the rule “100% of politicians are scum.” is correct 97% of the time, so a neural net would have a hell of a time discovering a more discerning rule.

    1. I call BS on “then add 10-20%”. It’s 80-90% in this bill, and most of the rest of what passes Congress.

  24. How Congress Could Send Bigger Stimulus Checks, Fund School Reopening, and Save $1 Trillion

    I have’t yet read beyond the headline, but how in the Hell do you “save” by still spending bigger stimulus money and fund school re-opening? Spending more is not how saving works…

  25. Now Rep. Peter Meijer (R–Mich.) is touting a revamped version of that proposal as the Direct Dollars Over Government Excess (DOGE) plan.

    Peter Meijer needs to get the Hell outta DOGE!

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