The Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill would recreate the 1970s-era welfare system by offering $120 billion in cash payments to parents who do not even try to work, say senators and critics.
Versions of the welfare-for-every-parent plan are being pushed by nearly all Democrats and by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), prompting Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to object:
The “Democrats plan is just repackaged welfare,” Rubio tweeted on February 26. “What I have been proposing for years (and partially achieved in 2017) actually allows low income parents to receive even more money than the Biden plan by keeping more of the money they earn from work.”
The bill is being debated this week in the Senate, and Democrats hope to pass it for a presidential signature by March 14.
The bill is being pushed via the “reconciliation” procedure, so it can pass the Senate with just 50 votes. But two parties each have 50 votes, so individual senators may have the power in the tied Senate to remove or reform unwanted parts of the massive spending package.
The $120 billion plan is funded for just one year — but few observers believe Congress will cut off the checks in the midterm election year of 2022.
“President Biden’s welfare plan would greatly increase cash grants while eliminating all existing work obligations in the current child credit program,” says Robert Rector, the poverty expert at the D.C.-based Heritage Foundation. “It abandons the link between work and welfare established by welfare reform in the 1990s and re-establishes the principle of unconditional entitlement to taxpayer-funded benefits,” he added.
Poor Americans need aid, but the no-strings award promise of cash to non-working parents “goes too far,” says Oren Cass, founder of the pro-family American Compass think tank.
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