As federal spending runs off the rails – and the Biden administration wants to spend more – Missouri Sen. Eric Schmitt steps in front of the gravy train

Washington, D.C., is “allergic” to tough decisions on spending, Missouri Sen. Eric Schmitt said Wednesday – while offering his colleagues what he says should be an easy one.

Schmitt took to the Senate floor to press for passage of a “disapproval resolution” against the Biden administration for its unilateral decision to extend the use of emergency COVID-19 funds through 2026. The administration wants to make billions in COVID money available to state and local units of government beyond the end of this year, when Congress had set the fund to expire.

“There is no COVID emergency; even this president said that a year ago,” Schmitt told The Heartlander in an exclusive interview Wednesday. “The American people have known that longer than that. This reckless spending needs to end. Inflation is sky high, and it’s partly because Washington continues to spend money we don’t have.”

Schmitt notes abuse of such funds that has already taken place.

“We know that the state of Washington, for example, has abused this: There’s been over $300 million sent in cash payments to illegal immigrants. Illinois is abusing it. Washington, D.C. has spent money to be ‘a proud sanctuary city.’ There’s been money spent on swimming pools and golf courses. It’s got to end.”

With a bit of creative wordsmithing, the Biden Treasury Department has decided it can extend the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF) fund past its expiration of this Dec. 31, Schmitt says. At least $13 billion in COVID recovery funds would be available “for administrative, bureaucratic and legal fees,” whatever that means, and “would not directly benefit taxpayers,” Schmitt’s office argues.

“To put that in perspective, that would be like taking $1,200 out of every American family’s wallet, out of their budget,” Schmitt says. His resolution, he notes, “is “a pretty simple idea, which is to say when [Congress] said ‘end of 2024,’ they meant it. This agency, Treasury, doesn’t have any authority to change that.”

Is it possible the  funds could be used as a slush fund for partisan political ends? Schmitt is unequivocal about that.

“Absolutely. I think what they want to do is, they want to continue to drain these dollars to sort of pay off friends and allies in some of the blue cities – that’s really what’s going on here.

“There are some cities that are talking about using this money for reparations. I mean, this is nuts. How any of this has anything to do with a COVID emergency that doesn’t exist anymore, it makes no sense.  

“But again, Washington just likes spending a bunch of money, and nobody ever asks any questions or tries to say ‘stop.’ And that’s what I’m trying to do with this.”

Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, has repeatedly warned that federal spending is on an “unsustainable fiscal path.” Earlier this week it was reported the federal government “has spent more money on interest so far this year than it has spent on both national defense and Medicare.”

Yet the gravy train only seems to pick up steam. Why is that?

“Because Washington is allergic to making tough decisions,” Schmitt says. “One of the reasons I ran for the Senate was to try to infuse some Missouri common sense into this place, which is why I had this legislation on the floor today.

“Joe Biden is trying to buy votes with canceling student loan debt that he knows he can’t do. And when I was attorney general of Missouri, we brought that case. We won at the Supreme Court. It saved taxpayers a half a trillion dollars. Yet he’s continuing to try and do that.  

“One of the reasons we have a completely open border is, this is a 2030 Census play by the Democrats, because you don’t have to be a citizen to be counted in the Census, and they want to try to run up the score and the numbers in states like New York and California.  

“It’s really cynical, but we’ve got to push back. We can’t give up. I think you have to press back wherever you can.”

Schmitt’s resolution, he says, “would save at least $13 billion. That may not seem like a lot of money here in Washington, but from where I come from in Missouri, we still count our money. That’s a lot of money. Like I said, it’s $1,200 for every family in this country.  

“I just think we need some more common sense up here.”

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