Ahead of the vote on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, lawmakers have offered an array of misleading claims to promote their position on the bill. Here’s a fact check of some common talking points.
NYT. Linda Qui, Feb 28, 2021. Page A 23
Republicans mischaracterized elements of the bill.
WHAT WAS SAID
“This is supposed to be a Covid bill. Only 9 percent of it goes to Covid.” — Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the House minority leader, in an interview this week on Fox News.
This is misleading. A spokeswoman for Mr. McCarthy said that the 9 percent referred to the $160 billion for a national vaccination program, expanded testing and a public health jobs program, as outlined by the Biden administration. In other words, 8.4 percent, or $160 billion of the $1.9 trillion package, is allocated specifically to fighting the coronavirus.
But that is a rather narrow interpretation of pandemic-related funding. The bill also includes other health care spending like subsidizing insurance coverage for laid-off workers, extending paid sick leave and funding for veterans care.
And like the first two relief bills signed by President Donald J. Trump and an alternate measure proposed this year by 10 Republican lawmakers, much of the Biden plan is devoted to providing financial help to families and businesses harmed by the economic effects of the pandemic. The $1,400 stimulus checks and extension of unemployment benefits are the two biggest single expenditures, according to a breakdown by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.