RICHVALE, Calif. - North State Rep. Doug LaMalfa (1st District) has shared his concerns about President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, that passed the House early on Saturday on a near party-line vote. He said before the House vote that he was in opposition to the relief bill.
LaMalfa authored three amendments to the relief bill in the House, but none were added to the package.
Congressmember LaMalfa also co-authored four additional amendments, which did not make it to the final bill that has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
LaMalfa states that he supported all five bipartisan COVID relief bills passing the House in 2020, but does not support Biden's current bill.
Rep. LaMalfa said, “Over $1 trillion in COVID relief remains unspent, but Democrat leaders are shamelessly pretending we must approve this partisan slush fund or risk the collapse of our entire pandemic recovery. With only nine percent of its funding going to COVID health spending and less than half authorized to be spent this year, this bill is in no way timely or even necessary. The numerous beneficiaries of this so-called COVID relief include union pensions, Planned Parenthood, the National Endowment for the Arts, and even a bridge in Senator Schumer’s state of New York and a tunnel in Speaker Pelosi’s backyard.
“I am also troubled that this bill does nothing to address the issue of unemployment insurance penalties and identity theft that will be affecting millions of Americans, both of which result in surprise tax bills that our constituents had not counted on at all. My amendments to help people with these worsening problems were rejected outright by Democrat leadership.”
One major concern for the Congressmember concerns taxes on unemployment payments.
According to LaMalfa’s office, 44 million Americans filed for unemployment last year, with many of his constituents unaware that UI benefits were considered taxable income.
What’s making the problem worse, says LaMalfa, is that state agencies such as the Employment Development Department (EDD) in California, have been “inconsistent” in withholding projected federal income taxes on COVID-19 relief-related benefits.
LaMalfa said this creates “unforeseen” taxation.
He is also concerned about stolen identities that have been used to claim benefits, which he says is sometimes only discovered when a 1099-G tax form arrives in the mail claiming constituents owe hundreds or thousands of dollars in taxes on unemployment benefits they did not apply for.