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.