Federal workers are among the biggest benefactors of the mammoth $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill passed early Saturday morning by the Senate — a spending plan that gives government employees up to 15 weeks of paid leave.
The bill, which narrowly passed in the absence of one Republican senator, comes with up to $1,400 in direct payments to families earning less than $160,000 a year. The “stimulus” provision has grabbed all the headlines.
But the bill, which now has to be approved by the Democrat-led House, includes billions and billions of dollars in giveaway spending.
Federal workers are among the big winners at the taxpayer-funded trough.
According to Government Executive, Senate Democrats were able to retain a provision that provides federal employees up to 15 weeks of additional paid leave for COVID-related matters. According to the publication:
The provision would grant up to 600 hours of paid leave—capped at $1,400 per week—to all federal workers, including U.S. Postal Service employees, if they are suffering from symptoms of the coronavirus, if they are caring for a family member who has COVID-19, if they are getting vaccinated or experiencing symptoms related to the vaccine, or if they are caring for a child whose school or child care center is closed or engaging in virtual learning due to the pandemic.
The additional leave would be available from between when the bill is signed into law and Sept. 30. Gone is a provision in the original House version of the bill but stripped during the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s markup process requiring feds to exhaust all other forms of sick leave before they can tap into the new leave fund. The bill sets aside $570 million to pay for the new benefit.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, one of 49 Republicans to vote against the new spending package said the bill is not COVID relief, “it is a massive debt burden that further mortgages our children’s future.”
“I support helping people truly affected by the pandemic, but we should have targeted the unspent $1 trillion from previous bills first,” the Oshkosh Republican said. “The economy is already in a strong recovery, and this bill could spark harmful inflation. It was unneeded and unwise