Hawaii Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard slammed the combined $2.3 trillion spending bills passed by both the House and Senate in an 11th-hour vote Monday night, which coupled $900 billion in COVID relief with a $1.4 trillion annual spending bill that included hundreds of millions in foreign aid.
The congresswoman, who voted against the bill, blasted the spending measure as an “insult and a slap in the face” to millions of Americans struggling under forced government shutdowns, saying members of Congress weren’t given enough time to read the bill and know what was in it before having to vote on it.
“I’ve been here long enough to see how provisions are snuck into these bills, literally in the dark of night, without any announcement, without telling anyone what is in it, and then rushed through in the manner that we have just seen,” Gabbard said of the 5,500-page bill, which was delivered to members of Congress only a few hours before they were expected to vote on it.
Gabbard also called out Congress for only allocating $600 per person in COVID relief while doling out billions to foreign countries and special interests.
“The central part of this bill was supposed to be about providing direct COVID relief to the American people, who are struggling and who need help the most,” she said.
“This bill dished out hundreds of billions of dollars going towards special interests, going towards the military industrial complex, going towards foreign countries, meanwhile saying, 'Here's what's left for you. You get $600 bucks,” she added, calling the legislation “a representation of the screwed up priorities of Washington.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on vote against spending bill: "This bill dished out hundreds of billions of $$ going towards special interests, going towards the military industrial complex, going towards foreign countries -- meanwhile saying, 'Here's what's left for you. You get $600.'" pic.twitter.com/cnMKasjogT— The Hill (@thehill) December 22, 2020
Pushed through as two separate bills, but passed in conjunction, the COVID relief bill stipulates $600 per American in relief nearly eight months after Congress passed the first aid bill, which allocated $1,200 per person on a sliding scale based on income.
At the same time, the separate appropriations bill, which funds the government through the fiscal year, allocated billions in foreign aid, including $4.7 billion in combined foreign aid to Egypt, Israel, Ukraine, and another $10 million for "gender programs" in Pakistan.