Democrats and Republicans finally got together Monday on a stimulus bill after months of negotiations. You’re likely getting $600 out of it. Not to look a gift-horse in the mouth, but if only we were the nation of Sudan.
In yet more proof there’s nothing that bipartisan horse-trading can’t make worse, the Senate passed the 5,000-page bill Monday ostensibly aimed at COVID-19 relief but significantly larded with provisions that have nothing to do with mitigating the novel coronavirus or the economic devastation it’s caused.
It’s tempting to get hyperbolic and say you can’t imagine any way it could get worse. You could, but you’d need to get creative. Imagine, maybe, PBS hypothetically getting $1.2 million for a version of “Who’s on First?” with a black transgender cast that addresses issues of systematic racial inequality. A theoretical $95 million bailout for Pan Am, People Express and Braniff International. Using the bill to shore up official American policy “regarding the succession or reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.”
Actually, no, wait — that last part is real. As part of the omnibus bill, according to Newsweek, the Senate issued a “statement of policy” aimed at stopping China from naming the successor to the 14th and current Dalai Lama when he passes away — something that would interfere with the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and (more importantly) would be used to tighten control over the region of Tibet, which China invaded and annexed in 1950.
This is noble stuff, but a) Beijing doesn’t care and b) this was part of a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill tacked on to a $1.4 trillion government funding deal.
But don’t worry — you’ll be getting your $600 stimulus check. In addition, federal unemployment benefits of $300 a week were extended through March.
There will also be money for the Paycheck Protection Program small business loan initiative.
And $700 million for Sudan, I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know: