Lankford Informs Senate Leadership: No More Support for COVID “Relief” Bills
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, as the White House sent a request to Congress for $22.5 billion dollars for additional COVID-19 funding, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) led his colleagues in a letter sent to Senate leadership to inform them that they would not support additional COVID-19 relief funding since unused funds still exist 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 Biden’s policies of giveaways and government support that have extended well beyond the scope of emergency relief.
Lankford was joined in sending the letter by Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Mike Lee (R-UT), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Kennedy (R-LA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Ron Johnson (R-WI).
Lankford and his colleagues wrote in their letter, “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… 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.”
This week, in Lankford’s reaction to the State of the Union address, he pointed out how Biden’s COVID-19 “relief” programs created our 7.5 percent inflation and has pointed out how other nations have not seen that level of inflation due to the pandemic only. Lankford joined his colleagues to introduce the Inflation Prevention Act to help combat inflationary spending by barring legislation estimated to increase inflation until the year-over-year inflation rate drops below 4.5 percent. Lankford has also opposed every aspect of Biden’s vaccine mandates, including defunding these mandates all together.
The senators’ letter is supported by Americans for Tax Reform, National Taxpayers Union, and Heritage Action.
“Lawmakers have used COVID-19 as an excuse to pass trillions in wasteful spending, much of it unrelated to fighting the pandemic. Right now, we need spending restraint, not billions more in spending. Senator Lankford should be applauded for opposing efforts to pass additional, unnecessary COVID-19 funding and for pushing for much needed fiscal responsibility,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform.
“With so many unobligated or unspent funds from previous COVID relief bills, Congress should not be committing new, deficit-financed dollars to supplemental spending requests. Instead, lawmakers and the Biden administration should identify ways to divert already-appropriated funds to new pandemic challenges that may crop up. We appreciate Senator Lankford sharing his concerns about new supplemental spending requests, and the impact COVID spending has had on deficits and inflation,” said Andrew Lautz, Director of Federal Policy, National Taxpayers Union
“Facing the prospect of a historic wipeout in the midterm elections, Democrats’ rhetoric is finally starting to acknowledge that the COVID emergency is over. However, their actions indicate that this rhetoric is hollow, as Democrats are currently pushing for tens of billions of dollars in new federal “COVID emergency” funding. Congress has already appropriated almost $6 trillion as part of “COVID relief” packages, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, more than $800 billion of that money remains unspent. The last thing Congress should do is spend more money in the name of COVID relief when the real, interconnected emergencies we face are record inflation and an out of control national debt. It is great to see Senator Lankford and other conservatives drawing a line in the sand to oppose more reckless spending,” said Garrett Bess, Vice President of Heritage Action.
You can view a copy of the letter HERE and 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.