Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has proposed new federal legislation that would bar the federal government from allocating any taxpayer-funded coronavirus relief money to states and local governments that use those funds to support illegal immigrants in the U.S.
As Cotton summarized with his proposal, “If we are going to be giving relief checks to those people who are out of work, we need to focus on American citizens, not illegal immigrants.” Dubbed the ‘No Bailouts for Illegal Aliens Act’, the legislation would bar stimulus funding from being distributed to those government agencies at the state and municipal level that do not comply with the proposed compliance requirements. The effect would then nullify any access to CARES Act funding as well, which has already been enacted earlier this year, a retroactive result.
Technically, states and cities that would fall under the new proposal would have to certify in writing that their received stimulus funds are not being used by or spent towards support of illegal aliens. Penalties for taking action otherwise could be severe under existing federal law, particularly the false billing provisions in current law. Such a restriction was not laid out in the recently enacted CARES Act.
As reported elsewhere, new current new stimulus packages moving through Congress right now are likely to include paycheck substitution and payroll protection enhancements above and beyond what the CARES Act already provides. If enacted such provisions would likely see a significant share going to states like New York and California due to the size of their populations, versus much of the rest of America and especially states deemed red, who have nowhere near the same density. Of the areas where funding does end up in the hands of illegal immigrants, this would ultimately be, among other sources, paid using taxpayer funds by way of collected income taxes.
On a separate channel, Senator Cotton also noted that he’s developing additional legislation to increase domestic pharmaceutical capacity and reduce reliance on overseas sources, a notable issue that continues being raised during various medicine and vaccine shortages. The current industry practice has relied for years now on supply chains and production based overseas, even though the companies themselves operate and license within domestic U.S. borders. Much of which has driven the lower cost of production and labor, like so many other industries that use currency exchange differences to increase operating margins.
The new incentives Sen. Cotton proposes would promote and incentivize home-grown pharmaceutical production, not just sales and marketing, and would ultimately block out pharmaceutical products imported from sources such as China and other foreign countries, which could reduce the potential risk of adulterated production that does not meet U.S. standards.
Both proposals are hot button issues right now, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are also relevant and proactive in terms of providing options for reducing fraud, sending funds where they help the most, and bolstering U.S. capabilities while driving down reliance on outside sources.