Republican Jim Banks outlines ‘worst’ parts of spending bill

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Republican Jim Banks outlines ‘worst’ parts of spending bill

Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks laid out his case against President Biden and the House Democrats’ sweeping social spending bill in a memo sent to members of the largest conservative caucus in Congress on Tuesday. 

The Indiana Republican said his staff dissected provisions that progressives are pushing to be in the $3.5 trillion spending package — which passed in the House Budget Committee in September but is expected to be whittled down to $2 trillion if not less after pushback from moderate Democrats.

Banks accused members across the aisle of “playing ‘hide the ball’ with the bill text” and alleged “they bring it to the floor and tout some poll numbers and scare their members into voting for it.” 

Banks listed bullet points on provisions Republicans are pushing back on, arguing it,  “Perpetuates a labor shortage” by continuing “welfare benefits without work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents at a time where there are 10.1 million job openings—more openings than there are people looking for work.”

President Joe Biden speaks about the September jobs report, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, from the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus in Washington.
President Joe Biden has made it a goal to pass both infrastructure and social spending bills in 2021.
Susan Walsh/AP

“Each of these 42 bullets is enough to vote against the bill. Taken together—it’s mind-blowingly corrupt,” his report summed up.

“We need to loudly oppose it. Democrats are scattered. The Biden agenda is in question. It’s the perfect opportunity to build public sentiment against this bill. The American people need us to be the vanguard against the Left’s radical plans.

“It’s not an understatement to say this bill, if passed, will fundamentally change our country forever — Americans will wake up in a few years and wonder what happened to their freedom. We can’t let that happen.

Included among the provisions, the Republican said, are:

  • $8 billion expected to be used toward commissioning a Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) that would establish “a cabal of federally funded climate police” to “conduct progressive activism on taxpayers’ dime” and a “$10 billion ‘environmental justice’ higher education slush fund to indoctrinate college students and advance Green New Deal policies.
  • Banks argued language requiring pre-K staff to have a college degree would hurt small and in-home daycares, saying it pushes “faith-based child care providers out” of the sector. 
In this Sept. 16, 2021, file photo Pre-K teacher Vera Csizmadia teaches 3-and 4-year-old students in her classroom at the Dr. Charles Smith Early Childhood Center in Palisades Park, N.J.
Banks criticized the portion of the bill that would make pre-K staff to all have college degrees.
Mary Altaffer, File/AP
  • While the Senate parliamentarian ruled that immigration reform could not be included in the bill, the memo argues that the Democrat-led measure provides “incentives for illegal immigration” including an enhanced child tax credit, the eligibility for student aid and “free” college entitlement.
  • Banks also took issue with the bill’s healthcare provisions, arguing it “expands worst parts of Obamacare: Obamacare’s job-killing employer mandate will become more severe by adjusting the definition of ‘affordable coverage’ to mean coverage that costs no more than 8.5 percent of income rather than current law’s 9.5 percent of income,” adding he believes it will lead to an uptick in out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. 

“This bill is a disaster and should be polling at 20 percent. We all know it.  So, how can we explain the 52-55 percent approval it’s garnered in the polls? The chief reason that it keeps polling favorably is because we haven’t done a good enough job letting the American people know what’s in it,” he wrote. 

“Here’s what happens to public opinion when the public learns what’s in these Democrat bills. In March, before Democrats’ $1.9 trillion package passed, 70 percent of Americans said they favored it. Polled again in August — five months after the bill was enacted, only 35 percent of Americans said the bill was helping improve the economy or will do so in the future.”

Patients wait in line outside an urgent care pharmacy while wearing personal protective equipment, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York.
According to Banks, the spending bill could lead to more expensive prescription drug costs for everyday Americans.
John Minchillo/AP

Banks further accused the Democrats of providing “a legislative hull for Biden’s vaccine mandate” in the massive bill and empowering labor unions by preventing “employers from permanently replacing striking workers,” increasing Fair Labor Standards Act penalties by 900 percent and subsidizing union dues. 

The memo went on to allege it “pushes Democrats’ wasteful and confusing school lunch agenda: $643 million for, among other things, ‘procuring…culturally appropriate foods’ in addition to providing a “tax credit for wealthy donors who give to woke universities: The bill creates a new tax credit program that gives tax credits worth 40 percent of cash contribution that are made to university research programs.” 

Democrats have been at odds over what provisions should be included in the final version of the legislation, with Speaker Nancy Pelsoi (D-Calif.) acknowledging that the party will have to come down from the proposed $3.5 trillion but remained vague in what would be cut. 

During a press conference on Tuesday, Pelosi was asked what item in the bill would be the first to go in order to get the price down and closure to an agreement. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi did not specify what from the bill could potentially be taken out before a final vote.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

“You must be kidding,” Pelosi told the reporter. “That’s a negotiation, that’s not something that I would be announcing here and I don’t even know what that would be.”

Right after, the speaker did say that in order to bring costs down, they would probably reduce “timing.”

“But it only would be in such a way that does not undermine the transformative nature of it, because some of it has to have enough money in order — to be — have sustainability that is — can be counted on.”

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