COVID Aid Bill Would Pay Federal Employees $1400 a Week for Not Working

(Jon Miltimore, Foundation for Economic Education) With thousands of schools still closed or partially closed across the country, millions of American families are struggling to find work-life balance while educating their children at home.

One part of American society may be receiving their own special COVID-19 relief package, however.

In Forbes, Adam Andrzejewski writes that a provision in the $1.9 trillion House bill—“the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021”—would allow federal employees to make up to $1,400 a week without working.

Buried on pages 305-306 of the legislation, the provision creates a $570 million fund for disbursements to federal employees who are not working because they are caring for others because of the coronavirus.

“Among those eligible are those who are ‘unable to work’ because they are caring for school-aged children not physically in school full time due to Covid-19 precautions,” writes Andrzejewski, the CEO and founder of OpenTheBooks.

Under the legislation, full-time federal employees are eligible for 600 hours in paid leave through September, receiving up to $35 an hour…

Essentially, the $570 million is a special perk for a select segment of the US workforce: federal employees. According to the Congressional Research Service, there are roughly 2.1 million civilians in the federal workforce, many of whom are represented by labor unions.

The largest union representing federal workers is the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents some 700,000 federal and DC government workers. Then there is the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which represent 110,000 and 150,000 government employees, respectively.

These organizations spent heavily on political causes in 2020. The AFGE alone spent $2.3 million in political contributions and $1.9 million in lobbying. The NTEU spent $760,000 and $1 million on contributions and lobbying, respectively…

If you think that sounds a bit like a quid pro quo, you’re not wrong. Unions have made it clear, even publicly, that they expect returns for all those dollars and door knocking.

“Those who would oppose, delay or derail this legislation, do not ask us—do not ask the labor movement—for a dollar or a door knock,” AFL-CIO union leader Richard Trumka warned lawmakers before a key House vote last year. “We won’t be coming.”

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