As a multitrillion dollar emergency coronavirus spending package ground toward passage Tuesday, conservative activists worried that this temporary measure to keep the economy afloat during the pandemic will instead lead to a permanent expansion of the federal government. . .
A repeatedly expressed fear was that new benefits will prove difficult to take away once enacted, even after the economy improves, and elevated spending will be difficult to claw back to pre-coronavirus levels once the crisis is averted.
“Conservatives believe economic freedom is essential to limiting the current economic crisis and accommodating a fast recovery following the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus,” the Club for Growth, a leading conservative group, said in a statement. “And above all, whatever Congress does, it should first and foremost follow the Hippocratic Oath and ‘DO NO HARM.’” The Club is still reviewing the current bill, according to a spokesperson.
Democrats and Republicans have sparred over the exact contents of the emergency legislation, with each accusing the other of prioritizing pet programs over cash-strapped businesses and workers stuck at home in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. But President Trump and lawmakers mostly agree on new federal spending to avert a coronavirus-induced economic collapse, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin playing a significant role in negotiating with Senate Democrats. And Senate Republicans have repeatedly rebuked their Democratic colleagues for blocking a bill.
This has put conservative groups and lawmakers who are supportive of Trump, but critical of excessive spending, in an awkward position. While conservative opposition to the red ink billowing from Washington intensified under the Democratic administration of Barack Obama, much of this infrastructure was created in response to the bipartisan bank bailout signed into law by the previous Republican president, George W. Bush. These groups in turn helped elect members of Congress who promised to be more consistently fiscally conservative, some defeating pro-bailout incumbents in Republican primaries. (Read more from “Conservatives Fear ‘Temporary Relief’ Spending Will Lock in New Government Programs Forever” HERE)