Roy Exum: My Notes On HR 748

Sunday, November 22, 2020 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

As you may have heard among the loud hyperbole of our Presidential election, the Republicans and Democrats in our epicenter of dysfunction Washington both refuse to budge on a proposed bill in Congress known as the House bill H.R. 748. This bill includes badly needed help for the American people but until Saturday I had not gotten to see the bill’s particulars. I know the Republicans are aghast over the audacity of the $2 Trillion Congressional bill but that the Democrats are so delirious over President-Elect Joe Biden’s success they seem to have lost all modicum of common sense.

As I read down the highlights of the Democrats’ proposal, I made notes in the margins and, as we await common sense to transcend the most current voting results, please allow me to present some of the particulars from the pending bill:

I begin with notes of information, this gleaned from an informative email sent early Saturday morning.

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(NOTE No. 1) -- The American population (est.): 330,483,530

(NOTE No. 2) – Proposed Stimulus bill: $2,000,000,000,000 ($2 Trillion) – go ahead: look it up.

(NOTE No. 3) -- Dividing the cost by every citizen in America is $6,051.74

(NOTE No. 4) -- The government could have given every person over $6,000, but instead will give $1,200 to each adult under a certain income. This leaves $4,800, represented by each American citizen, for “other COVID-19 projects.”

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* -- $300,000,000 for Migrant and Refugee Assistance pg. 147

* -- $10,000 per person for student loan bailout (NOTE No. 5 -- Remember: These are individual loans acquired by each student to use as they wish. The average graduation rate at The University of Tennessee (after six years) is roughly 60 percent. The average debt amount per students who took loans is $32,731. Using 2016 figures, a student who left college had a monthly payment of $393. It is the biggest scam ever witnessed in higher education. And now you are going to pay it? Why?

* -- $100,000,000 to NASA, because, who knows why? What’s NASA’s connection to COVID?

* -- $20,000,000,000 to the USPS, because why not. (NOTE No. 6: Anytime you see nine zeroes following the initial numbers before the first comma of a large number it means billion (with a ‘b’).

* -- $300,000,000 to the Endowment for the Arts – yes, $300 million … to fight the pandemic?

* -- $300,000,000 for the Endowment for the Humanities [NOTE No. 7: Tell the truth: You never even knew there was such a thing.

* -- $15,000,000 for Veterans Employment Training, as though the GI Bill isn't enough. [NOTE No. 8: For students attending public colleges and universities, the GI Bill covers all tuition and fees at the in-state rate, but it may not have the same reach at a private or for-profit school. The national maximum at such schools will be $24,476.79 for the 2019-2020 school year and generally increases slightly each year. There is also a housing/cost of living supplement.

* -- $435,000,000 for mental health support (NOTE No. 9: There is little doubt this is one of our nation’s greatest needs but should a $435 million as an additional appropriation be attached to a COVID relief bill?)

* -- $30,000,000,000 for the Department of Education stabilization fund/ because that will keep people employed (all those zeros can be confusing, that’s $30 billion) (NOTE No. 9: 60 percent of third-graders in the nation’s public schools cannot read at grade level.)

* -- $200,000,000 to Safe Schools Emergency Response to Violence Program. (NOTE No. 10: Most schools in urban areas have SROs so this is $200 million for what??)

* -- $300,000,000 to Public Broadcasting / NPR. (NOTE No. 11: While there is some programming on NPR I adore, the facts are NPR has shamefully become part of the liberal media. This line item has been laughingly called “The Democratic Lease Agreement.”)

* -- $500,000,000 to Museums and Libraries (NOTE No. 12: Who knows how we are going to use it, most particularly in Hamilton County (pop. 370,000) where there is no public library! Citizens of Hamilton County must pay a fee to enter the Chattanooga Library, which is as big a public rip-off of the public trust as our so-called emissions centers, but not one political representative of Hamilton County’s 370K citizens has the courage to eliminate such scourges because, brother, you just cast your vote. $500 million for libraries – show me the COVID index card on this joke).

* -- $720,000,000 to Social Security Administration but, get this it is believed only $200,000,000 is to help people. (NOTE: No. 13: How can administrative costs be over $500 million for benefits less than half that much? Hmmm!)

* -- $25,000,000 for Cleaning supplies for the Capitol Building / I kid you not … it's on page 136 (NOTE No. 14: Anybody who ever bought a bucket, a mop, and some Pine-Sol is very embarrassed.)

* -- $7,500,000 to the Smithsonian for additional salaries. (NOTE No. 15: In the last COVID Relief Bill the Pelosi-led crazies packed it with so much pork that this is a second mighty helping of ‘pig’ for, very candidly, a most non-essential item in pandemic relief. At this rate, we will soon run out of pigs!)

* -- $35,000,000 to the JFK Center for Performing Arts. (NOTE No. 16: If a time when we must mask, stay at least six feet apart, and wash our hands regularly, how is $35 million going to possibly be used for the coronavirus? No wonder the flamers want to rewrite the history books … I’d be mortified if future generations found out about such wanton waste of taxpayer money.)

* -- $25,000,000 for additional salary for House of Representatives. [NOTE No. 17: Do you realize this includes ‘Do-Nothing Chuck’ Fleischmann? I know, I know, his pseudo-lavish re-election campaign and eloquent speeches left you “Double 0 Seven” (shaken, not stirred.) In truth, the Tennessee coven of the Republican Party should do ‘jail time’ for perpetuating such a flagrant fraud.]

* -- $3,000,000,000 upgrade to the IT department at the VA. (NOTE No. 18: Yes, $3 billion (with a ‘b’) for computers. With this much money alone, we could finally close down this albatross, and give every veteran a Medicare package with an insurance-company upgrade. They could pick their own health-care providers, the hospitals of their choice, and be in total charge of their health needs in a thriving competitive market, this versus what has been a healthcare catastrophe and – poof – no need for any computers, much less $3 billion down the drain. And how’s this for a news bulletin: I do not know one veteran who likes nor appreciates the VA.)

* -- $315,000,000 for State Department Diplomatic Programs. (NOTE No. 19: There are no diplomatic programs; just look who votes against the USA at the UN. The only diplomacy that counts is “foreign aid” and the cost of “friendship” has gotten so over-priced that now our allies relish a chance to burn our flag. I’d turn this one completely around by totally stopping the billion-dollar handouts to everybody except Israel. And then I’d make England, France, Spain, Canada, and every lesser freeloader “prove” their friendship to America before we dole out another penny. Charity doesn’t ‘buy’ goodwill … it has to be deserved.)

* -- $95,000,000 for the Agency of International Development. (NOTE No. 20: Are you kidding me? Once again, using USA money to “develop” a better international airport in Bangladesh ain’t got squat to do with COVID. And what’s this? We are “developing” a better Benghazi? You want $95 million more? Kindly move international development to the foot of the food chain because we’ve noticed very little vaccine “development” from all the foreign countries now clamoring for freebies at the expense of desperate Americans. Give me a break!)

* -- $300,000,000 for International Disaster Assistance. (NOTE No. 21: This must be with an asterisk – “For natural disasters only.” We can no longer offer financial help when radials bomb a foreign marketplace, when crooked governments incite a coup, or when somebody used nerve gas in Iran. You keep your own closet clean. Tsunamis, earthquakes, fires in the Amazon basin—America will be there – but man-made catastrophes? You are on your own. COVID on foreign shores? We’ll do what we can but never, ever, at the expense of even one 12-year-old little girl in Iowa.)

* -- $90,000,000 for the Peace Corp pg. 148. (NOTE No. 22: $90 million … when was the last time you heard anything remotely about the Peace Corps? I mean, really?)

* -- $13,000,000 to Howard University pg. 121. [NOTE No. 23: Howard University is a traditional black university in Washington, D.C. The question is what puts Howard U. on the list when Fisk, Grambling, Tennessee State, Florida A&M, Morehead, and others of great achievement are facing the same COVID numbers. This $13 million is prejudiced and is patently wrong.)

* -- $9,000,000 Misc. Senate Expenses pg. 134 (NOTE No. 24: With as much chronic overspending as there is in Washington, there is no ‘jiggle room’ for $9 million in ‘coffee-can money.’ Please!

* $100,000,000 to Essential Air Carriers pg. 162 (NOTE No. 25: We didn’t invite COVID into our midst. We also weren’t asked about baggage fees, reservation policies, taking our shoes off for security, or the ridiculous deregulations the airlines have foisted upon the public. It means nothing to me that we need “the instant satisfaction” of some tractor salesman rushing to Moline, Ill. What a golden opportunity to force the American people – who would normally have 66,000 in the air as you read this – to reinvent their purpose with greed eliminated from the bottom line. Could we exist without Frequent Flyer miles, a Zoom conference call easily replacing frivolous waste of time and jet fuel and get the same results? Of course. Pouring $100 million into air travel when a two-day car ride could accomplish the same thing makes great sense and will free up $100 million to make a far-different blow against COVID.

* -- $100,000,000 is chump change. (NOTE No. 26 – The biggest thing that changes ‘champ’ to ‘chump’ is ‘u.’ Don’t fall for this. It is every bit as phony as it looks and pay no attention to my view – you, yourself, know it’s true.)

* -- $40,000,000,000 goes to the Take Responsibility to Workers and Families Act. Pg. 164 [NOTE No. 28: This sounds like it's direct payments for workers but at $40 billion (with a ‘b’), I’m thinking ‘Take Responsibility’ is such a big number because it will go to the Democratic-led cities where this summer’s vast rioting has caused over $ 2 billion in ‘Take Responsibility’ havoc. Understand, there is no way I can be sure but that’s still an acutely glaring outstanding expense. What better way to hide the blame/truth for the unpunished rioters behind workers and families?]

* -- $1,000,000,000 Airlines Recycle and Save Program, pg. 163 [NOTE No. 29: Now we get to a billion for the airlines. “Recycle” what? Save what?” Don’t forget; this is taxpayer money in an industry where an estimated 48 percent of the people in the United States may fly once a year. No, don’t do the math, not with a billion bucks as the punch line.]

* -- $25,000,000 to the Federal Aviation Administration for administrative costs pg. 165. [NOTE No. 30: Do not “see” $25 million in administrative costs … pay closer attention … this is AN ADDITIONAL $25 MILLION but that’s not “the stinger.” Administrative costs never go away. Instead they come “established,” which means next year’s budget will call for “renewal.” The FFA administrative cost will, quite naturally, increase by … you got it … $25 million.]

* -- $492,000,000 to National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) pg. 167 [NOTE No. 31: Before World War II, railroads paid a pivotal role in transportation and hauling freight. But Eisenhower’s Interstate System and the advent of over-the-road trailer trucks dealt the railroad industry a death knell. Sorry … modern-day logistics has turned railroads into antiques and, before we ever deal $482 million into a corpse, let's allow the railroads to die instead of gasp for modern oxygen that the railroads in no shape or fashion can sustain.]

* -- $526,000,000 Grants to Amtrak to remain available if needed through 2021 pg. 168 [NOTE No.32: “Through 2021” will end approximately 13 months from now. Take this $326 million, combine it with the $482 million in the paragraph above, and it will be a total of something like $818 million through 2021, or 13 months from now. Now, how are we doing on behalf of every taxpayer?]

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I LOVE THIS: Hidden on page 174 the Secretary has seven days to allocate the funds and notify Congress (NOTE No. 33: Two trillion is the numeral ‘2’ followed by 12 zeros. That is a full five zeroes more than there are seven days. Is life good or what?)

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There is a lot more idiocy in the proposed HR 748. They are asking $25 billion (with a ‘b’) for the transportation infrastructure, $5 million in raises and office updates for the Inspector General, and millions more for everything from the Maritime Department, Indian Affairs, and stuff that is beyond belief but wait ….

Right now … or at 8 o’clock last night to be precise … there has been an increase of more than one million new cases of COVID in the United States than at this time one week ago. According to the CNN coronavirus dashboard, the number of U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 12 million Saturday.

THESE ARE FACTS (per CNN via Bing at 8 p.m.): “At least 12,044,934 cases have been confirmed, according to Johns Hopkins University data, and 255,541 Americans have died.

“Almost every state has reported a rapid surge in cases, and nationwide numbers have been climbing much faster than ever before - with the country reporting a staggering 2.9 million infections since the beginning of the month.

“On Friday, more than 195,500 new infections were reported -- the country's highest for a single day, and far beyond what the nation was seeing just weeks ago. The highest number of single-day cases during the country's summer surge was a little more than 77,100 in July, Johns Hopkins University data shows.

“The U.S. on Friday also recorded its highest number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals on a given day: just over 82,100 - according to the COVID Tracking Project. Rising death rates typically follow rising hospitalizations. In just the past week, more than 10,000 US deaths have been reported - nearly double the weekly death toll of just a month ago.”

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So, here is (NOTE No. 34: on the list of my scribbling on H.R. 748. Somebody dares to blame the President for mismanaging our COVID pandemic but if ever there is living proof the real blame lies on the continued and now more heightened elected idiots in a misguided Congress, I submit the afore-mentioned ample truths.)

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