The $900 billion coronavirus stimulus bill, which was attached to a broader $1.4 trillion omnibus bill, ended up being a whopping 5,593 pages. If you are wondering how a stimulus package and spending bill could grow to that size, when you look at all that is included you will understand. And most likely you’ll also be infuriated.
While COVID-19 financial relief is what lawmakers are touting, the $600 check being sent to Americans seems like pennies when you see what else was included in the bill.
Among the stranger things included in the package are the creation of national standards for horse racing, tax breaks for NASCAR, laws to make illegal streaming a felony and a section outlining the reincarnation and succession of the Dalai Lama.
The bill also knocked out the possibility of jail time for anyone who fraudulently uses emblems of the U.S. Forest Service’s “Smokey Bear” and “Woodsy Owl.”
Among the foreign-aid payments included is at least $25 million headed to Pakistan for gender programs and to promote democracy. Sudan will be receiving $700 million, Ukraine receives $453 million, and another $506 million is headed to Central America.
The money being sent overseas prompted Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) to tweet, “I predict the day our country’s finances collapse, we will still be funding ‘gender programs in Pakistan.’”
An additional $4 billion is headed to Jordan for military loans, and $250 million more is going to Palestine to boost employment.
The more than 5,500 pages of the bill were uploaded for lawmakers to view just two hours before having to vote on the measure. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) was one of 50 House Republicans who voted no on the bill. Biggs tweeted “After days of backroom negotiations & only a handful of hours to read the 6,000-page legislation, the House passed the omnibus & COVID-19 spending bill tonight. Congress continues to fail the American people & bankrupt our grandchildren’s future.”