The Republican Coronavirus Relief Bill Would Fund Fighter Jets

The proposed relief package contains some provisions for rental assistance and nutrition programs, and a bucketload of cash to buy military aircraft.
July 28, 2020, 6:35pm
Republican Coronavirus Relief Bill Would Fund Fighter Jets

The $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill unveiled by Senate Republicans on Monday includes $686 million to purchase F-35 fighter jets and $720 million to purchase military transport aircraft. It would also put an additional $650 million toward wing replacements for attack aircraft.

The proposed relief bill comes as the country continues to struggle through the Covid-19 pandemic that has put millions of Americans out of work and killed thousands. The massive $1 trillion bill would include a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks and a reduction of the federal unemployment bonus from $600 to $200, as well as $113 million for rental assistance and $250,000 for nutrition programs administration.  

However, other items included in the appropriations portion of the bill seem to have a less direct connection to Covid-19. For example, $1.75 billion is reserved “for the design and construction of a Washington, DC headquarters facility for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

The bill also earmarks funding for the Department of Defense, including funding dedicated to the operation and maintenance of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. This section also lists the procurement of new weaponry, including the $686 million reserved to purchase F-35 fighter jets and the $720 million reserved to purchase military transport aircraft.

Like all of the provisions in the bill, the military funding is described as being earmarked “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally.” 

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have yet to come to an agreement regarding the terms of the package, and are hoping to reach a compromise before Congress breaks in August. 

Several key benefits of the CARES Act signed by President Trump in March are set to expire, including the $600 federal unemployment bonus which will expire at the end of July, and the federal student loan forbearance which will expire in September.