On Monday lawmakers passed the $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill. It was the largest pieces of legislation ever at 5,593 pages. While it was drafted to extend economic assistance to Americans, many lawmakers took to social media to offer their criticism that it was impossible to know exactly what was in the bill. Reading it was hardly an option as lawmakers had just six hours to read the nearly 6,000 pages before casting their vote.
At issue was the “pork” that was added to the bill.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) (@SenMikeLee) posted multiple tweets complaining that it would be impossible to know what he was voting to support, “This is the spending bill under consideration in Congress today. I received it just moments ago, and will likely be asked to vote on it late tonight. It’s 5,593 pages long. I know there are some good things in it. I’m equally confident that there are bad things in it.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) was among those who called out the bill for including provisions that had absolutely nothing to do with Covid-19 relief, such as making illegal streaming a felony. The New York Congresswoman tweeted, “This is why Congress needs time to actually read this package before voting on it. Members of Congress have not read this bill. It’s over 5000 pages, arrived at 2pm today, and we are told to expect a vote on it in 2 hours. This isn’t governance. It’s hostage-taking.”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez also was among the politicians that suggested it wasn’t just those on Capitol Hill that should actually know what is the bill being passed by lawmakers. She added, “And by the way, it’s not just members who need to see the bill ahead of time – YOU do. The PUBLIC needs to see these bills w enough time to contact their rep to let them know how they feel. Members are reeling right now bc they don’t have time to consult w/ their communities.”
In a rare sign of bipartisanship during a time of a deeply divided nation, Republicans joined in criticizing the bill.
This included Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has been a vocal critic of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, and he tweeted (@tedcruz), “[email protected] 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. #CongressIsBroken”
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) (@RepRalphNorman) was among lawmakers who took issue with the size of the bill – both in terms of the number of pages and the amount of money involved, “Folks, we just received a 5,600 page PDF that represents one of the largest spending bills in our history, and NOT ONE Member of Congress will have had time to read through it before voting later today. This is awful governance, and a disservice to the American people.”
This also included Arizona Republican Congressman Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAz), who offered his thoughts on Twitter, “Votes are still expected today on this legislation. No one will be able to read it all in its entirety. Special interests win. Americans lose.”
Of course there were those who fired back at some comments. Michael Muscato (@michael_muscato), who ran as a Democrat in the 2020 election for Arizona’s 8th Congressional district, came off as a bit of a sore loser with a mouthful of sour grapes when he responded to Biggs, “The first 8 pages are the table of contents. I also wouldn’t consider the text to be more than 1/3 of an actual page. Put your big boy pants on and do your job.”
Congresswoman-Elect Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) (@laurenboebert) called out the bill’s inclusion of $600 stimulus checks as a distraction. ” The controversy over the price tag on the $600 stimulus checks is the conversation Congress wants you to have to distract from how absolutely horrible the rest of the COVID-19 relief bill is. There’s a reason they gave a 5,593 page bill to members only hours before the vote!”
Rep.-Elect Boebert also seemed to be one who actually was able to dig into the 5,500 plus pages and called out some of the provisions. “It also includes tons of subsidies for wind and solar. It extends offshore wind credits for five years, extends the Wind PTC for one year, the solar ITC for two years and directs $35.2 billion to so-called ‘clean energy’ projects. The $600 checks are ‘shut up’ money.”
It wasn’t just lawmakers – or would-be lawmakers – that had issue with the bill. Actress/activist Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) was among those who took issue with the bill for not doing enough for struggling families, while the relief package included provisions to help America’s allies.
She tweeted, “Between 30 and 40 million families are at risk of eviction, but Congress can only afford $600 per person. I’m sure the $500 MILLION in arms and military aid to Israel and the $2 BILLION for Air Force missiles will help keep them warm when they are on the streets.”
Clearly those on the extreme right and left are equally unhappy. In business it is said if everyone goes away a little unsatisfied it is a good deal. But if there is much anger over the relief package, perhaps it is just a bad deal for everyone including the American taxpayers.