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Rubio, Lankford, Colleagues to Senate Leadership: No Additional Taxpayer Funds for COVID “Relief”
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Lankford (R-OK), and Senate Republican colleagues sent a letter to Senate leadership to inform them that they would not support additional COVID-19 relief funding since more than $811 billion remains unspent or unobligated from previous funding packages. Additionally, any new funds would contribute to further inflation increases on top of the already 7.5 percent inflation that exists as a direct result of the Biden Administration’s policies of giveaways and government support that have extended well beyond the scope of emergency relief.
In addition to Rubio and Lankford, Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Mike Lee (R-UT), Pat Toomey (R-PA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) signed the letter. The senators’ letter is supported by Americans for Tax Reform, National Taxpayers Union, and Heritage Action.
“Inflation stands at 7.5 percent—the highest since February 1982. Consumer price inflation has accelerated at a steady and rapid rate under this Administration’s policies, increasing from 1.7 percent in February of last year to 7.5 percent in January of this year,” the senators wrote. “We will not support any new supplemental COVID funding packages this year, at the detriment of US taxpayers and American families. Congress must take responsibility for its spending problem and cannot continue to add fuel to the fire.”
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Majority Leader Schumer and Republican Leader McConnell,
As calls for additional COVID relief funding begin, we write to inform you that we will not support any supplemental COVID-19 relief funding. It is clear that funding remains unobligated from prior relief packages, and that continuing to overspend—as this Administration does—will continue to contribute to the crushing inflation Americans feel.
Since the start of the pandemic, Congress has spent almost $6 trillion over two years through the enactment of six supplemental spending packages. While there was a need for an initial COVID response, billions in current unobligated COVID funds, 40-year high inflation, and the downward trends in COVID’s impact on our nation’s health and economic stability, make it clear that additional spending at this time is not warranted or appropriate.
According to the latest information provided by the Congressional Budget Office, as of the end of January of this year, over $811 billion in COVID relief funds remain either unobligated or unspent. Given these balances, it is clear that additional funding is not needed at this time. For example, the Biden Administration has plans in place to send out one billion COVID tests and 400 million N95 masks, neither of which have any way to track their use. The Biden Administration acts as if they want new ways to spend money, not as if they are strapped for cash, as their recent $30 billion request may appear.
Inflation stands at 7.5 percent—the highest since February 1982. Consumer price inflation has accelerated at a steady and rapid rate under this Administration’s policies, increasing from 1.7 percent in February of last year to 7.5 percent in January of this year. By comparison, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom, and Canada all have much lower inflation that the US Dumping trillions of dollars into an American economy that was already on the rise has had crippling effects on this nation. Compared to January of 2021, food and grocery costs are up 7 percent, home heating costs are up over 46 percent, and used car prices are up over 40 percent. The federal government cannot continue to spend without regard to the impact on prices, the economy, and our constituents at home. It is clear that throwing even more money at COVID is unsustainable and irresponsible.
Lastly, as COVID cases continue to decrease, we urge our colleagues to look to how currently available funds may be best utilized instead of simply allocating new deficit funds.
We will not support any new supplemental COVID funding packages this year, at the detriment of U.S. taxpayers and American families. Congress must take responsibility for its spending problem and cannot continue to add fuel to the fire.