What do federal prisoners, Japanese citizens, and illegal immigrants have in common? They all received billions of your tax dollars in federal stimulus checks from the $2 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that liberals in Washington passed under one-party Democrat rule last year.
You’re probably wondering how on earth could federal prisoners – including the Boston Marathon Bomber – have received stimulus checks that were paid for by your hard-earned tax dollars. But this is the kind of abuse you get from a bill that was crafted to reward the friends, allies and political donors of Democrat Leaders in Washington. As Republican Leader of the Budget Committee, that’s exactly the kind of abuse I’ve been exposing for the last 65 straight weeks.
If there were nothing to hide, then there would be no opposition to my efforts to oversee this money. As part of my fight to hold Washington Democrats accountable, I introduced a measure that would force the Biden administration to turn over records and documents, including correspondence, related to the number and total dollar amount of stimulus checks from ARPA that were sent to convicted prisoners, non-U.S. citizens living abroad, illegal immigrants, and deceased individuals. Unfortunately, this week, every single Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee voted to block it – meaning there will be no sunlight on this spending while Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) is in charge of your House of Representatives.
To date, I have uncovered that $783 million in stimulus checks were sent to over half a million federal prisoners; up to $4.38 billion in checks were sent to illegal immigrants; $13 million in checks were sent to people without verifying whether they were still alive; and thousands of $1,400 checks were sent to Japanese citizens living in Japan.
And that’s just the waste we know about. With numerous examples of waste, fraud, and abuse across that $2 trillion spending bill, the American people deserve the answers to how this could have occurred. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in a Washington controlled by one-party Democrat rule of Congress and the White House.
This isn’t the only issue the Biden administration is stonewalling me on. The administration has ignored numerous Republican oversight and transparency requests. Neither U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen – whose department is responsible for administering over $1 trillion worth of its programs and benefits – or “Rescue Czar” Gene Sperling – who was appointed to oversee the implementation of this $2 trillion boondoggle – have bothered to answer questions or appear before the Budget Committee. The lack of accountability in Washington is absolutely unacceptable.
Billions in fraud is not an accounting error, it’s a failure of government. In the rush to pass ARPA, Washington Democrats blocked Republicans’ commonsense measures that would have put safeguards in place to help avoid such waste and abuse. As a result, Washington Democrats spent $500 billion on state and local bailouts that left behind a massive trail of waste and abuse. This led to millions of dollars in waste and handouts for the wealthy in ARPA, like $140 million for a luxury hotel in Florida, $7 million for horse racing in Arizona, $5 million for a moonshine walking trail in North Carolina, $4 million to build beach bathrooms and a parking lot in South Carolina, and the list goes on – all of it paid for with our tax dollars.
So, what did the American people get in exchange for this wasteful spending? One of the most harmful economic crises in my lifetime. Consumer prices have risen at the fastest rate in 40 years. Prices have spiked 13.7% since Biden took office. Last month’s 8.3% inflation rate means families are giving up one month’s salary a year to deal with Washington Democrats’ inflation crisis. On top of all of that, our nation is in a recession.
I will fight to get answers out of this administration and hold them accountable for their reckless spending that destroyed our economy. When Republicans retake control of your U.S. House next year, we’ll fight tooth and nail for policies that will make our economy strong again, like curbing wasteful spending, restoring America’s energy independence, and fixing our broken supply chain.
U.S. Rep. Jason Smith is the area’s state representative for the 8th Congressional District.