So they did it. Working late into the night before scurrying out of town for Christmas, the House and Senate both managed to pass the gargantuan COVID relief bill. The President is expected to sign it. And when I say “gargantuan,” I’m not just talking about the massive pile of debt that the nation just accumulated. The final bill was roughly 5,000 pages long and it was festooned with a seemingly endless laundry list of items having absolutely nothing to do with the pandemic. I found myself in the unusual position of having to agree with Democratic New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who took to Twitter with a very justifiable complaint.
This is why Congress needs time to actually read this package before voting on it.
Members of Congress have not read this bill. It’s over 5000 pages, arrived at 2pm today, and we are told to expect a vote on it in 2 hours.
This isn’t governance. It’s hostage-taking. https://t.co/JpBbEHHkVG
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 21, 2020
Chief among some of the massive bits of hot garbage that are completely unrelated to the pandemic were a raft of provisions dealing with climate change. Yes… I know. The Associated Press highlights some of these new laws that were never mentioned in public while the bill was being negotiated but were somehow crammed down everyone’s throats in the interest of looking like they were doing something about pandemic relief.
The energy and climate provisions, supported by lawmakers from both parties, were hailed as the most significant climate change law in at least a decade.
“Republicans and Democrats are working together to protect the environment through innovation,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
“This historic agreement includes three separate pieces of legislation that will significantly reduce greenhouse gases,″ Barrasso said, citing measures that promote technologies to “capture” and store carbon dioxide produced by power and manufacturing plants; reduce diesel emissions in buses and other vehicles; and authorize a 15-year reduction of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, that are used in everything from cars to air conditioners. HFCs are considered a major driver of global warming and are being targeted worldwide.
You’re going to see the phrases “promoting technologies” and “creating jobs” quite often in that portion of the bill. The technologies in question involve carbon capture, emission reduction and replacements for the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used as coolants in air conditioning and refrigeration systems, among other things.
You see, that’s how they like to describe such “initiatives” to put a pleasant spin on them. A better translation of those passages would be to say that taxpayer money will be shoveled into “green energy” and carbon reduction companies who will ostensibly be working to achieve those goals while (just coincidentally) making a ton of money for a small number of people. A closer look into how those people donate to political campaigns and focus their job creation on the states represented by the politicians pushing these plans will no doubt be very instructive.
To be clear, there was a great deal more than just climate change jammed into this massive bill that almost nobody in Congress or the media had a chance to read before it was passed. Our colleague Beth Baumann from Townhall has already put together a collection of the other greatest hits (to your collective wallets) that wound up in the bill. They include money for invasive species mitigation, water management on the Tibetan Plateau, “gender programs” in Pakistan, and piles of money for India, Tibet, and other nations. Dig in at the link if you have the stomach for it.
All of this time we were told that a pandemic relief bill was going to include direct payments to taxpayers, federal enhancements to unemployment benefits, money for more PPE and loans for businesses and municipalities to get them through the shutdowns. All they were haggling over was the amount of money in each initiative. That would have required, what… a couple of hundred pages at most if they were feeling particularly verbose? And most of it could have been copied and pasted from the first relief bill with a few of the dollar amounts changed.
Instead, they wheeled out a bill that’s ten times longer than Moby Dick and one hundred times more tedious to read. Nearly a trillion dollars just went up in smoke in the name of “Battling The Pandemic And Saving Everyone’s Lives,” with a huge amount of that legislation doing nothing of the sort. Merry freaking Christmas, everyone. This is the swamp doing what the swamp always does.