With the American economy imploding during the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States federal government has stepped up to being the backstop for economic catastrophe. First up was the CARES Act. This has been followed by the Republican Senate proposal; the Coronavirus Response Additional Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 also known as the HEALS (Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools) Act. The HEALS Act includes some rather surprising funding given the financial dilemma that millions of American households find themselves enduring thanks to the ongoing shuttering of the economy.
In this Senatorial Act, there is supplemental funding for (among others):
1.) Agricultural Programs – $20 billion to support the agricultural sector that has been impacted by the coronavirus.
2.) Department of Commerce – $448 million additionally for the 2020 Decennial Census as well as $20 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and $500 million for Fisheries Disaster Assistance.
3.) Department of Justice – $80 million for expenses related to U.S. prisoners in the custody of the United States Marshals Service and $212.985 million for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to offset the loss of fees resulting fro the coronavirus pandemic and $1.75 billion to construct an FBI headquarters building in Washington.
4.) Science – $224 million for aeronautics programs, space technology and operations, exploration and safety, security and mission services.
5.) Department of Homeland Security – $138 million for cleaning and sanitation and checkpoints and other airport common areas and procurement and installation of credential authentication technology units.
6.) Department of Health and Human Services – $605 million for Indian Health Services
7.) Department of Labor – $500 million for grants to States for dislocated worker employment and training activities, $150 million for grants to States for youth workforce investment activities, $1.115 billion for upgrades to information technology to improve the processing of unemployment compensation claims.
The big spending comes in this section:
That's a total of $2.527 billion in additional spending on the Pentagon's multiple divisions for "Operations and Maintenance".
In addition, we find this:
Under the "Defense Industrial Base Resiliency Fund" we find the following appropriations (you can find the details on pages 34 to 41):
Army – $1.128 billion
Navy and Marine Corps – $4.664 billion
Air Force and Space Force – $4.273 billion
Special Operations Command/Missile Defense – $783.1 million
Here are some specific appropriations:
1.) Navy – ship depot maintenance – $153 million
2.) Army – AH-Apache Block IIB new builds – $283 million
3.) Army – Stryker DVHA1 upgrade – $375 million
4.) Navy – P-8A Poseidon additional aircraft purchase – $1.068 billion
5.) Navy – LCS OTH Naval Strike Missiles and Launchers additional purchase – $441.4 million
6.) Navy – four expeditionary medical ship additional purchase – $1.45 billion, one EPF Expeditionary Fast Transport Ship – $260 million, amphibious shipbuilding program – $250 minion, surface combatant supplier base program – $250 million
7.) Navy – sonobuoys additional purchase – $49.1 million
8.) Air Force – F-35A, C-130J additional purchases and A-10 wing replacements – $2.056 billion
9.) Defense-wide – THAAD Battery and BMDS AN/TPY-2 radars – $359.695 million
10.) National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account – $800 million
As you can see, the defense industry will benefit marvellously from the HEALS Act. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic fallout which has seen tens of millions of American workers becoming jobless, some permanently, Washington simply can't show enough support for the nation's military-industrial complex, pouring nearly $30 billion of additional spending into the Pentagon's already bloated budget. Don't worry, Main Street America does still benefit from Senate's largesse; the bill includes a reduced unemployment benefit of $200 per week to replace the expired benefits of $600 per week as well as a new round of $1,200 relief cheques to taxpayers.
God bless Congress and its unfettered generosity to the corner office dwellers in the defense industry.
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