Well, if you ever wanted a clear-eyed preview of what we can expect out of the next four years, we certainly got a taste of it on Monday. After Congress passed a massive $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package (unread by 100% of lawmakers, who were given the legislation six hours before the vote), Joe Biden hopped on social media to praise Washington and promise that the bill is only a glimpse of what he has in store for the country.
“I applaud this relief package, but our work is far from over. Starting in the new year, Congress will need to immediately get to work on support for our COVID-19 plan,” Biden tweeted. “My message to everyone out there struggling right now: help is on the way.”
The Washington Post reported that Biden’s tweet matches his rhetoric over the past few weeks.
“Biden’s assessment, made repeatedly in recent weeks, echoes the view of many Democrats who see the bill as the beginning of a negotiation, not the end. The notion that more aid is necessary — Biden at times has said talks should start as early as January — sets up perhaps the first major legislative test for the new president and his self-proclaimed negotiating skills,” the Post wrote.
We’ve seen quite a few lawmakers criticize the bill this week, and the fury has been remarkably bipartisan. The Squad-type Democrats, of course, are angry because there’s not enough money in the bill. The small-government minded Republicans, of course, are angry that there’s too much money in the bill. But just about everyone is in agreement on one thing: Lawmakers should have been given more than a few short hours to read this thing before being asked to vote on it.
Not that it stopped many of them from doing so.
That said, there were six U.S. Senators – all Republicans – who decided that the bill was simply too enormous to abide. Marsha Blackburn, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Rick Scott all voted nay.
“To so-called conservatives who are quick to identify the socialism of Democrats: If you vote for this spending monstrosity, you are no better,” Paul said. “When you vote to pass out free money, you lose your soul and you abandon forever any semblance of moral or fiscal integrity.”
“Because of the length it is impossible that anyone will have the opportunity to read it between now and the time that we will vote,” Lee said Monday. “And I am absolutely certain that this has been cobbled together by a very small handful of members of Congress and their staffs and to the exclusion of 98% of members of Congress of both political parties in both houses.”
To put it another way: With Trump on the way out, the Swamp is on the way back in.