Consolidation Appropriations Act of 2021 and the Covid Relief Bill

To my dismay, I have seen a bunch of posts on Social Media from people who simply post crazy shit without knowing the facts and it drives me crazy!  This is no different when it comes to the Consolidation Appropriations Act of 2021.  Some posts I read blame the Democrats while others believe that all of the money in this bill was for COVID relief and was hijacked by Congress.  First of all, if you think it is just the Democrats responsible for this bill you are an idiot.  Yes, I said it, you are an idiot!  Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress agreed to the terms and passed the bill.  Now it sits in the hands of President Trump who has found it in his wisdom to play a few rounds of golf in Florida while Americans suffer.  Of course I could ramble on and on about Trump but that is for another time.  

Before we move on, lets set the record straight.  This was NOT just a COVID Relief Bill, but a comprehensive spending bill which will keep our government up and running.  Nine Hundred Billion dollars was included for COVID Relief while $1.4 trillion was put in for what is called an Omnibus Spending Bill.  So what is an Omnibus Spending Bill?  Wikipedia writes : "An omnibus spending bill is a type of bill in the United States that packages many of the smaller ordinary appropriations bills into one larger single bill that can be passed with only one vote in each house. There are twelve different ordinary appropriations bills that need to be passed each year (one for each appropriations sub-committee) to fund the federal government and avoid a government shutdown. An omnibus spending bill combines two or more of those bills into a single bill.   Here is a story from the Washington Post which summarizes the Consolidation Appropriations Act of 2021 bill.  Sounds fairly normal doesn't it?  Not on your life.

If you have the time and the intestinal fortitude to read all 5,593 pages you are a better person than I am or you just have a boat load of time on your hands.  Media outlets such as CNN, NBC, The Washington Post amongst others have people to do this.  What I did find out is that there are several insane items that got slipped into the bill by both parties.  Here are just 5 of them;

1. Tax Breaks:  There will be $110 billion dollars in tax breaks for liquor producers, the motorsports entertainment sector and the manufacturers of electric motorcycles.

    A. Liquor Breakdown:  “I wrote this law for one purpose: to help small brewers and wineries and everybody in this space because the rules, the regulations, and the taxes were practically from Prohibition,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in an interview.  However, mega breweries such as Anheuser-Busch, the Distilled Spirits Council, Bacardi North America and the Brewers Association will also benefit. (I'm good with breaks for small local breweries, however companies who produce swill like Anheuser-Busch should be excluded or even taxed more.)

    B. Motor Sports Entertainment Sector:  Another extension benefits the motorsports entertainment industry, such as NASCAR, by allowing for the faster write-down of costs related to their complexes. That provision, which has appeared in prior legislation going back to 2004, helps those companies lower their overall tax bills and has now been extended until 2025.  Why the hell does NASCAR need a tax break?  (For many years they have been raking in millions of dollars hand over fist and now because one season was affected by COVID-19 they cry poverty and get federal help.  I would rather watch table tennis or the International Trolley Car Competition.)

    C. Electric Motorcycles:  Another extender grants a tax credit to buyers of “two-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles” or electric motorcycles. This credit is worth 10 % of the cost of the motorcycle, up to $2,500. Manufacturers of the bikes, such as Energica and Zero, are already advertising the tax credit on their websites.  (Electric motorcycles?  Do you know anyone who has one?  Hell, that might make them quiet so we would not have to hear the ear drum bursting noise that they make.)      

2. Special Interest Groups:  Included were tax breaks for special interest groups who always lobby Washington hard to get what they want.  “They are a gravy train for members and lobbyists, who repeat the same exercise every year or two,” Howard Gleckman, a tax policy expert at the Urban Institute, said in an email to The Washington Post. “The lobbyists get to keep billing hours, the members of Congress get campaign money from the same people while many of these classic special interest tax breaks do not benefit the overall economy in any way.”  Both Democrats and Republicans were in favor of this.  (Of course they were, they can still make millions from special interest group kick-backs.)

3. Tax Deductions for “Three-Martini Lunches.”

Yes, you read this right.  Until now, businesses have only been able to deduct 50% of meal expenses on their federal tax returns. Under this change, for which President Donald Trump advocated as a way to help businesses, business meals will be deductible from soup to nuts.  The entire meal including cocktails hence the name "three-martini lunch". (This really ticks me off.  They shouldn't be able to write any of these so-called business lunches off, PERIOD.)

4.  Prohibits “Doping” In Horseracing.   

In a subsection of the Bill labeled the “Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020,” the Federal Government will create and fund a committee to regulate the use of performance-enhancing drugs in horse racing.  (WHAT!  WHAT!  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!  I think my head just exploded!  I am all for protecting the horses, but this is INSANE!)

5. Warns China Against Interfering In The Naming Of The Next Dalai Lama:  Under this section of the bill, “interference by the Government of the People’s Republic of China or any other government in the process of recognizing a successor or reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama and any future Dalai Lamas would represent a clear abuse of the right to religious freedom of Tibetan Buddhists and the Tibetan people.”  (I can't believe that I actually wrote this on this blog!  I think Congress has other important things to worry about.) 

There you have it, 5 mind blowing items that got slid into the Consolidation Appropriations Act of 2021.  The Bottom Line here is these types of things are not unique to Washington and have been happening since the day's of our Founding Fathers.  I'll slide your Bill into my Bill if you and your pal's vote yes.  It happens all the time and I don't like it.  Each Bill should stand on and be voted on it's own merit.  Hell, some of these bills, like Consolidation Appropriations Act of 2021 are so huge no one in Congress even reads them before they vote.  

I guess this could all be a moot point since Trump claimed via Twitter, that he would veto the bill unless the payout to American's went from $600.00 to $2,000.00.  When he will veto the bill is yet to be determined.  Trump and his family bolted out of D.C. to spend the Christmas holiday at Mar-A-Lago on the taxpayers backs.  The same taxpayers who are out of work, having their homes foreclosed on, business being closed or bankrupt and are getting evicted because they can't pay their rent.  It's time for Congress and this President to think of the people that they have lost touch with.  Do what is right for your constituents and not what Mitch and Nancy tell you is good for "The Party".