On Monday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Rob Fairweather urging the Biden administration to protect American taxpayers and request the rescission of more than $668 billion funding included in the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill.
Scott’s letter is below.
Dear Acting Director Fairweather,
The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has hit our nation hard, and while it is important that Congress provide relief to the families and businesses directly impacted by the pandemic, President Biden’s “American Rescue Plan Act” is full of wasteful spending that has nothing to do with the crisis. Only 10 percent of the funds in this bill are related to COVID-19, and spending for vaccines is less than 1 percent. That is irresponsible and reckless. The federal government has an obligation to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and in the best interest of American families. Unfortunately, as is evidenced by the Democrats’ bill, Congress has been spending with reckless abandon, showing no concern for how Washington’s actions today will impact the future inherited by our children and grandchildren.
With last week’s passage of the completely partisan, wasteful and untargeted $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan Act,” our national debt now sits at a staggering $30 trillion. The process this bill went through in Congress, where it did not gain a single Republican vote, makes clear that Democrats are living in a fantasyland where debt doesn’t matter, spending has no consequences and inflation is impossible. Of course, reasonable Americans know that’s not true. The cost of living for families across our country is already rising and this bill’s enormous price tag will create inflation – hurting our low and fixed-income families, like mine growing up, the most.
The families I represent in Florida deserve to have their taxpayer dollars protected. That’s why I am writing to you today to request that the Biden Administration take immediate action to request the rescission of the non-COVID-related, misguided and in some cases purely wasteful funding found throughout this bill, which I have detailed below:
- $360 billion for state and local bailouts that predominantly benefit liberal states.
- $108 billion for schools to be allocated between 2023-2028 – long after every school should be safely reopened and not based on any documented needs.
- $86 billion to bail out failing pension plans.
- $50 billion for family planning, including funding for Planned Parenthood.
- $30 billion in federal grants for public transit projects.
- $20 billion to expand the failure of Obamacare through the Exchange Modernization Grant Program.
- Nearly $10 billion in a housing slush fund for states and local governments that won’t expire until 2025. This is in addition to the tens of billions of dollars the bill already appropriated for homeowner and renters assistance.
- $2 billion to states for climate reparations.
- Nearly $1 billion for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor railway, a woefully mismanaged public railway system.
- $645 million for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute for Library and Museum Services.
- $580 million in funding for the UN, which continues to provide a platform for murderous dictators.
- $570 million for paid leave benefits, available exclusively for federal employees to keep their children home when public schools refuse to reopen.
- $100 million for environmental justice, including $50 million for EPA-funded air quality monitoring.
While some of the above items may have merit, stuffing them into a COVID-19 spending package was wrong. These funding requests should be individually considered and debated in Congress to earn proper approval. If the president submits a rescission request to Congress for the items I have detailed above, it triggers a special process in which the funds are then locked down and cannot be used by the agencies for 45 days. During this time, Congress can either approve, modify or ignore the president’s rescission request. In the Senate, rescission legislation is treated in an expedited fashion as it must be acted upon within a set period, and is subject to a simple majority threshold.
I therefore urge you to consider the above items as proposals for rescission under section 1012 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (ICA) (2 U.S.C. 683) to allow Congress to quickly consider rescinding these funds entirely, or allocating them to better help American families.
As your team reviews the appropriations in the “American Rescue Plan Act,” I encourage you to keep fiscal responsibility top of mind as you determine if other spending may be appropriate for rescission. I will keep fighting against the waste in this bad bill and for responsible spending and the targeted delivery of aid for families and businesses truly in need.