KEY POINTS

  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy slammed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill
  • The Republican leader accused Democrats of blocking efforts to reopen schools
  • The California GOP also slammed Democrats for using 'less than 9%' of the bill on COVID-19

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy slammed President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill which includes a third round of stimulus checks as "too corrupt."

McCarthy, R-Calif., appeared on "Fox & Friends" Thursday where he said Democrats are blocking the $64 billion that the GOP allocated for school reopening. He also said the new bill was not a result of bipartisan effort. 

"This bill is actually too costly, too corrupt, and too liberal," McCarthy said. "The Democrats last night just blocked for the third time the $64 billion that is sitting there that hasn't been used to go to open schools, and the money in this bill, it won't even get to the schools until next year."

The California Republican also slammed Democrats for using "less than 9%" of the bill to defeat the novel coronavirus. 

“Less than 9% of this bill goes to defeating this virus, less than 9%. We have a trillion dollars still sitting out there that's already been appropriated,” McCarthy added. 

His argument echoes a statement made by Rep. Jason T. Smith, R-Mo, at a Wednesday news conference. Smith is the top Republican on the House Budget Committee. 

“If this package was clearly about crushing the virus, then why is less than 9% of all total spending actually used to put shots in people’s arms?” Smith said in his remarks.

On Feb. 19, President Biden announced that the American Rescue Plan included $160 billion dollars allocated for coronavirus testing and tracing, as well as vaccine manufacturing and distribution.

“That’s why the American Rescue Plan puts 160 million — billion dollars into more testing and tracing, manufacturing and distribution, and setting up vaccination sites — everything that’s needed to get vaccines into people’s arms, which is the most difficult logistical effort the United States has undertaken in peace time,” Biden had said while touring Pfizer’s vaccine plant. 

The new COVID-19 relief bill also includes a third round of $1,400 stimulus payments, an expansion to the child tax credit, and a proposal for higher minimum wage that was ruled out by Senate on Thursday.

An analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) found that only $17 billion or 1% was devoted to vaccine-related programs. At least $110 billion is allocated for the containment of the virus, including testing and tracing efforts. 

Marc Goldwein, senior vice president of the CRFB, said the $160 billion may have represented the government’s estimated spending on public health. However, he argued that the House may have also reduced the amount when the bill was crafted. 

Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy forcefully denied that there was sufficient evidence for Donald Trump's impeachment Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy forcefully denied that there was sufficient evidence for Donald Trump's impeachment Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB