When in doubt, apparently, you drive home the narrative.
So when Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler explained why she voted against the American Rescue Plan Act, she made it a point to mention San Francisco. “The current bill tacked on a bloated wish list of non-essential items like wiping out most of San Francisco’s budget deficit with a $600 million payment,” she wrote in a statement.
No mention that Houston – the largest U.S. city in a “red” state – expects to also receive $600 million. Or that restaurants in the purple state of Arizona expect $500 million from the bill’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Or that Wyoming, the state that most strongly supported Donald Trump in the 2020 election, will receive $900 million – despite having two-thirds the population of San Francisco.
Instead, Herrera Beutler seized on the trite trope that deep blue San Francisco in deep blue California is receiving a bailout from hardworking Americans. In truth, we all are receiving a bailout. According to Sen. Patty Murray, the Clark County government will receive $94.69 million and Vancouver gets $32.61 million. There is something for everybody, including $390,000 for the government in the town of Yacolt and its 1,800 people.
All of which is sensible, if a little extravagant. The coronavirus pandemic has observed no borders as it has ravaged the country for the past year. More than 500,000 people have died; economies have been devastated.
Does that warrant a $1.9 trillion spending package, as provided in the American Rescue Plan Act signed last week by President Joe Biden? I don’t know. But as Republicans desperately grasp for some way to discredit a package that, according to polls, is strongly supported by a majority of Americans, the best they can do is complain that it is a Trojan horse filled with goodies desired by Democrats.