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Rep. Carter: The misnomer that is the 'American Rescue Plan'

Originally appeared in the Round Rock Leader on March 1, 2021

Not many people could predict that almost a year later, we would still be battling the coronavirus. This pandemic has impacted every single American, from small business owners to elementary students, and has significantly altered our way of life.

Over the past year, policies have been enacted on every level, from signs in a small business window to White House executive orders, all in the name of aiding those impacted by COVID and working to stop the spread. I’ve supported five bipartisan bills that have provided funding to cities and counties, invested in vaccine development and distribution, and given money to school districts struggling to transition to digital learning. I still believe there’s work to be done to truly help the American people and get back to work, back to school, and back to life. Unfortunately, President Joe Biden’s new COVID relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, doesn’t do any of those things.

Instead, it’s a massive spending bill focused on progressive pet projects like underground rail in Silicon Valley and a bridge to Canada. Right now, there is $1 trillion of unspent COVID relief money from previous coronavirus relief bills. Until that is used to meet the needs of Americans, it makes no sense to spend another $1.9 trillion. Not to mention, within this $1.9 trillion “rescue” bill, only 1% of the money goes toward our greatest need, vaccine distribution, followed by only 5% for public health.

So, I find myself wondering, as I’m sure you are too, where the rest of this “COVID relief” money goes? Well, look closely and you’ll see massive spending on Democrat pet projects like $820 million for Amtrak’s Northeast corridor, $50 million for environmental justice and climate change initiatives, and $1.5 million for the Seaway International Bridge to Ontario. Not to mention over $100 million for Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s rail line in Silicon Valley. This bill fails at doing the one thing it claims to do: provide relief related to the coronavirus. Instead, we should be focusing on policy that gets Americans back to work and children back to school safely.

Previous coronavirus legislation has provided relief to small businesses, promoted vaccine research and distribution, and helped cities address their needs, all of which have direct ties to COVID-19. I was a strong supporter of this relief as it worked to improve your daily lives and helped pull us out from under the weight of the pandemic. However, what does not qualify as COVID relief is the progressive policy desires of those on the left that are funded by this bill.

I wanted to vote on legislation that focused on getting vaccines to every American who wants one. Legislation that helped students get back in the classroom safely so they can enjoy learning again. A bill that supports small businesses and provides relief to the American people directly. Biden’s plan misses the mark completely on what’s important to the American people right now and instead focuses on the needs of the Democrat Party over the needs of each of you.

I know I am not alone in the desire of our country to return to normal, but to do that, we need to use commonsense investments to address the direct needs of the public.

As your representative, I cannot support any legislation that uses a crisis as a guise to push liberal pet projects that have no benefit to you and no impact on the emergency we are facing.

Late on Friday night, I opposed the American Rescue Plan to fight for every American who feels as though they lost something this past year. I want you to know that I am fighting for those who believe that the needs of the American people should come before the wants of Pelosi, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Biden. 

I have watched alongside you as our world underwent change and loss like never before, and I will not voluntarily let COVID take anymore from us, which is why I opposed this massive payoff to the Washington elite.

Carter represents Texas District 31, which includes Round Rock.

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