The Real Cost of Biden’s Bailout

March 9, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) spoke on the Senate floor to call attention to the reality of President Biden’s Blue State Bailout bill.

To watch Senator Blackburn’s speech, click below or here.

You can read the transcript recorded in the Congressional Records below or click here.

MRS. BLACKBURN: Mr. President, this past Saturday, Senate Democrats

signed off on the largest and most partisan transfer of wealth in the

history of the U.S. Congress.

  In the weeks leading up to that vote, they insisted that their $1.9

trillion giveaway would bring the relief the American people were

seeking. They quoted suspect polling and anecdotes to support their

ridiculous claims that the bill was bipartisan, even though they never

even tried to secure bipartisan support. In fact, I would argue that

Democrats threw away the idea of bipartisanship the moment they chose

to use the reconciliation process to force their hand. After almost 30

hours of debate, they did just that on a party-line vote. Then the

cracks in their claims of bipartisanship and necessity began to show.

  Almost immediately after the final vote, the majority leader called

it--and I am quoting--``one of the most progressive pieces of

legislation--if not the most progressive--in decades.'' But we all know

that his definition of ``progressive'' isn't compatible with the kind

of targeted relief everyone here would probably agree that this country

needs, had my colleagues on the other side of the aisle not seen an

opportunity to fulfill the radical campaign promises that had put them

into power. They chose--they chose--that power over dealing with the

needs that people have.

  They did what they set out to do. A fraction of the American Rescue

Plan's $2 trillion pricetag would go toward that--and I am quoting

again--``big, bold, urgent'' relief that Democrats spent all weekend

long bragging about. I am sure you heard them as you turned on the TV.

Here is the truth: Only 9 percent--9 percent--will go toward vaccines,

testing, healthcare jobs; 9 percent of a nearly $2 trillion bill goes

for COVID relief.

  But if we want to talk about big, bold spending plans, let's talk

about all those special earmarks and sweetheart deals that Democrats

used to take advantage of the situation and seize even more power--

again, after the power, using people as pawns to get their liberal wish

list, get the money in the pipeline. Of course, you can forget that we

had $1 trillion already in the pipeline that had not been spent, also

putting their desired power ahead of our children and grandchildren who

are going to have to pay that debt. Immoral.

  In my office, we call this bill the blue State bailout. We do it for

a reason. You can look at this chart. Along with that laughable 9

percent of actual COVID relief, the American people took on $350

billion in debt to cover a bailout for some of the highest spending and

most poorly managed State and local governments in the country. The

number is astronomically higher than even the most extreme estimates of

need conjured up by leftwing think tanks. It is more than the $31

billion loss in expected tax revenue that experts forecasted. And it

doesn't even take into consideration that many States don't need a

bailout. Many States had success putting those five previous bipartisan

COVID relief packages to work. They caught up on their tax revenue with

time to spare.

  But, still, that $350 billion, it served a purpose. You can see it

right here. The blue States, they are getting more money. The red

States, they are losing money. It created yet another expectation of

dependency that mismanaged States and local governments can lean on

when their out-of-control spending policies come back to bite them.

  And we have learned today that the majority leader had a staff member

who tweeted out that the money from this bill, it would tend to New

York State's deficit--pretty much the same thing we are hearing from

California and from some of the big blue cities. If you can't control

your spending habits, crank up the printing presses.

  The payday continued with an $85 billion no-strings-attached pension

bailout that everyone from the Committee for a Responsible Federal

Budget to the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, to the

editorial board of the Washington Post agree had nothing to do with

COVID relief--nothing. It was a gift to an embattled constituency and

another pernicious assertion that when the going gets tough and the

money in those mismanaged funds evaporates, just call on the Federal

Government and crank up the printing presses one more time. Why? Oh, we

need the money. We cannot manage our budgets. We are running low on

fulfilling our obligation to the pension fund. Oh, my goodness, we have

so many needs.

  Everybody has needs. Our children and our grandchildren have needs.

They need freedom. They need Members of the Senate, Members of the

House to act like adults and address the problems that are right in

front of us.

  When President Biden asked, back in February, what would they have me

cut from this spending bill, I would have told him, let's start with

this money. Let's start with the money that is going to the States to

bail them out because yes, indeed, this is now the Biden blue State


  Democrats' desire for a lawless and open border shone through in

their unanimous refusal to accept an amendment that would have kept

billions of dollars in direct payments out of the hands of illegal

immigrants. This was more than just a handout; it was a signal to every

person who is trying to jump the line and break the rules that we will

not only tolerate it, but now we are encouraging it. Think about that.

Think about that.

  The rule of law is out the window. We are willing to chip away at our

own security--the Democrats are--and ignore the growing crisis at our

southern border--the Democrats are. And if it means we can slap a

bandaid on what has become a gaping wound and call it a win in the war

against poverty, the Democrats are OK with doing that. It is called

spin. But it does not address the underlying issues. It doesn't address

the fact that they are doing this at the expense of schools, small

businesses, and families.

  Democrats certainly followed through on their campaign promise to

empower teachers unions. In fact, they went so far as to approve a

provision that would pay schools to stay closed. All 50 Democrats voted

against an amendment that would have sent new funding only to schools

that have followed the science and have reopened safely.

  You know, you would have thought that the Democrats would have at

least done that for the children. But, no. In addition to saddling them

with debt--another $2 trillion worth of debt--they encouraged the

teachers unions to not go back to school. That vote put the power right

where the Democrats want it--in the hands of the unions. And millions

of students and teachers out there will continue to pay the mental and

emotional price for this action.

  This bill took so much from people who have absolutely nothing to

give. Think of all those billions of dollars wasted on unnecessary

State bailouts, pension rescues, and union appeasement. We had the

opportunity to spend that money on vaccine distribution and

small business relief and a light at the end of the tunnel for rural

healthcare systems that are hanging on by a thread.

  So why did Democrats throw so much money at their pet projects? Do

they really owe that many favors and paybacks? They certainly didn't

pour their time and energy into those 600 pages to provide relief but

to shamelessly advance their own agenda and throw aside struggling

families and workers. Struggling families and workers were simply the

price for getting the power that the Democrats wanted.

  When I talk to Tennesseans about what happened in this Chamber last

week, I tell them: You are right about what you were seeing as you

watched the proceedings. You are right. Democrats took advantage of

you, of your desperation and your exhaustion. They used slick messaging

and wordy phrases to sell a bill of goods that treats every pet project

they have and every liberal wish list agenda item as essential.

  They like changing the rules. They change the meaning of words like

``essential'' because they knew that if they could make everything that

they wanted essential, they could take all the power away from local,

responsible governments. They could take it away from school districts

and small businesses. And do you know what they are doing with it? They

are going to centralize it.

  See, here is the thing: You were essential to their greedy power

grab. They had to have you.

  They had to give their bill a nice-sounding name. They had to say

certain things were essential, but you--small businesses, families,

people who are playing by the rules, you were not essential to them.

  See, that is what ``progressive'' means to Senate Democrats, and if

we continue along this road, you are right; it will be an absolute

unmitigated disaster for every single person that my colleagues across

the aisle have used as leverage against responsible policy that will

actually bring us out of this pandemic.

  No, it is not about getting out of the pandemic. It is about power,

the power that they want.

  I yield the floor.