Economics/Class Relations

‘Pathetic’: Congress Passes Covid Relief Bill With Billions in Gifts for the Wealthy, $600 Checks for the Working Class

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

In late-night votes just hours after nearly 5,600 pages of legislative text were released, the U.S. Congress on Monday approved trillions of dollars worth of government funding and coronavirus relief that will temporarily avert a catastrophic expiration of key benefits, send $600 direct payments to many Americans, and provide billions of dollars in handouts to the rich.

The entire Senate Democratic caucus and every Republican but six voted for the roughly $900 billion coronavirus relief legislation, which was paired with a $1.4 trillion spending package that will fund the federal government through next September. Just two House Democrats—Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)—voted against the coronavirus relief portion of the sprawling package (pdf), which President Donald Trump is expected to sign.

“I voted against the latest Covid-19 relief legislation because it is woefully inadequate in addressing the needs of people,” Tlaib said in a statement late Monday. “I have watched as many of my colleagues rush to provide billions to corporations and wealthy individuals, while admonishing the needs of the majority of families.”

“I have watched as many of my colleagues rush to provide billions to corporations and wealthy individuals, while admonishing the needs of the majority of families.”
—Rep. Rashida Tlaib

“Republicans continue to do all they can do to poison our society further with corporate greed, while abandoning the very people they are supposed to be working for,” Tlaib added. “This is evident by the inclusion of the ‘three martini lunch’ tax giveaway.”

The tax deduction for business meals was one of several giveaways to wealthy Americans stuffed in the mammoth legislative package, which was made available to read Monday afternoon after reported computer issues delayed its release. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was one of several lawmakers who publicly expressed outrage at the lack of time lawmakers were given to read the bill before voting on it.

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