National Taxpayers Union urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 6800, the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Stimulus Act.” Responding to this crisis should be targeted and immediate in scope, yet this radical legislation fails to appropriately meet the needs of the American people despite adding $3 trillion to the federal debt.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present both health and economic challenges to the American people. Not only are people getting sick, tens of millions of Americans are struggling with significant loss of income, either through business closures or layoffs. We agree that the federal government has some responsibility to assist in relief efforts, but any action from Congress should be as targeted and fiscally responsible as possible. While some amount of spending must be expected to support those most vulnerable within our society, bipartisan support for increased spending should not be used as an excuse to pass long-standing unrelated pet projects.
Unfortunately, instead of helping struggling Americans, H.R. 6800 contains a laundry list of pork for special interest groups and other expensive items that have little to do with the COVID-19 pandemic. The 1,800 page partisan proposal includes, among other items, a lifeline to mismanaged union pension plans, a no-strings-attached bailout for the Postal Service, and up to $10,000 in payments to student loan borrowers. That’s not all: H.R. 6800 includes a radical overhaul of our nation’s credit reporting laws, billions for additional highway funding, and millions for the National Endowments for the Humanities and the Arts.
The cornerstone of the bill is more than $1 trillion to state and local governments to plug budget holes that have plagued state governments long before the pandemic began. Federal taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to bail out states that continue to overspend and overtax their residents. H.R. 6800 also hands millionaires and billionaires a significant windfall by uncapping the SALT deduction. According to IRS data from tax year 2015, over 84 percent of the benefit of the SALT deduction went towards those with incomes above $100,000. A mere 3.5 percent went to those with income levels below $50,000.
Measures to restart the economy will require some fiscal response, but lawmakers shouldn’t mortgage our country’s future with expensive and unnecessary items that do little to help struggling everyday Americans.
Roll call votes on H.R. 6800 will be heavily weighted in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “NO” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.
If you have any questions, please contact NTU Policy and Government Affairs Manager Thomas Aiello at Thomas.Aiello@ntu.org