PRESIDENT TRUMP ERRS IN SIGNING COVID RELIEF BILL
Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
As it so often does, Congress passed a massive spending bill just three days prior Christmas whilst providing its members, our representatives, no reasonable amount of time to review its contents. As it turns out, the bill, which is 5,593 pages long, is stocked with a seemingly endless array of provisions having no connection to its stated purpose.
The compliments from the press were near immediate, as were the accolades from Congressmen and Senators alike who passed the bill with votes of 359 to 85 and 92 to 6, respectively. The bill was called a source of hope for bipartisanship and a "first step" in affording Americans with needed relief in their struggles against the coronavirus pandemic. However, the bill was so tainted with pork that the President called it "appalling" while threatening to veto it.
But sadly, on Sunday, President Trump signed the $908 billion COVID relief bill into law.
Yes the bill does include some items intended to help Americans. For one, the bill calls for $600.00 payments to Americans earning less than $75,00.00 per year. It extends unemployment benefits of $300,00 per week for ten more weeks. It also allocates $284 billion by way of a second Payment Protection Program for small businesses, and an eviction moratorium extension until January 31, 2021.
But here's what else the bill contains:
In all, the bill was more about everything else than it was about COVID relief. Those defending the bill claim that these were all provisions the White House had requested on prior occasions, but there is a distinct difference between provisions passed in the light of day versus those stuffed in a massive spending the bill in the cover of night. Under different circumstances the latter occasion may be tantamount to a bribe.
How many times have we asked ourselves what it will take for Congress to stop acting in such a surreptitious and nontransparent manner? The answer, of course, is a President who slaps Congress down when it engages in one of its stunts.
Indeed, when President Trump appeared at the White House to explain why he was sending the bill back to Congress for further consideration, he showed great clarity of thought, courage, and resolve. Predictably, the move was met with disdain from the press, which of course, means the President was doing something right. Also, a "coalition" of legislators sent out a statement urging the President to sign the bill, or immediately veto it.
But Sunday night, President Trump allowed an opportunity for him to serve as checkrein on Congress pass him by and signed the COVID Relief Bill into law along with all its pork and hidden provisions.
Much more needs to be told regarding the events culminating in the President's signature when it appeared he would not sign the bill. But for now, as Americans, we are left to reap the few benefits of the bill and deal with its many consequences.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He served in the Florida House of Representatives. He is the author of numerous books including The Federalist Pages, The Case for Free Market Healthcare, and Coronalessons. He is available for appearances and book signings, and can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopedic surgeon living in Florida. He is a lawyer, author, and former member of the Florida House of Representatives. He is available for speaking engagements at firstname.lastname@example.org