Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he was appalled that Democrats added $40 million to a subway near Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district overnight in the House Rules Committee after criticism of $100 million earmarked for the project in an earlier version of the bill.
House Republicans on Friday will force a vote on redirecting the total $140 million and toward mental health grants for students impacted by the pandemic, he said Friday.
“Our proposal would shift the first $100 million and now the extra $40 million that was added overnight that was allocated to Nancy Pelosi’s subway to grants that would be used for mental health for children,” McCarthy said at a press conference.
The funds for an underground rail line from San Francisco to Silicon Valley are the most prominent example of pork decried by conservatives opposed to President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief bill, which is expected to pass the House on Friday night.
McCarthy said the funds weren’t directly linked to COVID-19 and must be removed.
“Let’s provide those resources to the families so they can get the help for the anxiety, the depression, for children who are suicidal. That’s COVID. That’s dealing with relief. That’s what the American public wants to see,” he said.
The amendment will be included in a Republican “motion to recommit” before final House passage of the bill. It’s likely to fail largely along party lines.
The House bill still has a $15 minimum wage hike, which won’t be allowed in the Senate version of the bill, the upper chamber’s parliamentarian said Thursday night. That means the House must likely pass the bill twice before it reaches Biden’s desk.
Republicans argue that the vast majority of funds in the bill won’t directly address the pandemic.
For example, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that about 95 percent of the bill’s $129 billion for K-12 schools won’t be spent in 2021, in part because funds approved for schools last year haven’t been spent.
The bill includes $1,400 stimulus checks for adults who earn less than $75,000 annually and extends through August at $400 per week a federal unemployment insurance subsidy.
The bill also has $350 billion in aid for state and local governments. New York City is expected to receive about $5.6 billion if the bill passes. The state government would get about $12.7 billion, according to estimates released by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
Republicans say the bill should be much smaller and say they are concerned about adding to the almost $28 trillion national debt so soon after passing a $2.3 trillion government funding and COVID-19 relief bill in December.