Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn made the bizarre claim that President Joe Biden wanted to “shut down churches” as soon as Democrats passed their infrastructure bill.
The bill, one of two main pieces of legislation (the other being a $ 3.5 trillion spending plan) seen as key to codifying the Democrats’ economic and social policy agenda, has been the target numerous Republican attacks since the summer.
Blackburn made the claim during an appearance on Fox News, which you can watch below.
Blackburn’s claims raised the specter of socialism, a fear tactic favored by the far right:
“We know that the ‘Build Back Better’ agenda has become the Biden ‘Build Back Broke’ agenda and the American people have understood that what [Democrats] are trying to do is institutionalize socialism. “
“They are trying to take control of the country with one vote. They want the government to control your children. They want to check your bank account for every transaction over $ 600.”
“Whatever you do on Venmo or PayPal, they want a part of that transaction. They want government control over health care.”
“They want to demoralize the military, shut down churches, destroy your faith in the American system, and then here they are going to come up with a socialist program to run your life, from cradle to grave, from day to darkness.”
Where to start?
There is no evidence that Democrats want to, as Blackburn puts it, “institutionalize socialism,” “control” anyone’s children, or “demoralize” the military.
Blackburn’s claim that Democrats are overriding Americans’ financial privacy is also misleading, as it originated in a widely shared September 10 article on the far-right Conspiracy Theory website. InfoWars.
The title of the article reads: “Biden’s Treasury Department Says IRS Will Monitor Transactions for ALL US Accounts Over $ 600,” but this claim is not correct.
In May, the Treasury Department presented a revenue proposal to introduce more comprehensive financial reporting in an attempt to “improve tax compliance.”
The proposal is just that: a proposal.
If passed, banks would not provide access to individual transactions, but only to annual cash flow information for an account, and only if those accounts have a value of at least $ 600, or the total is of at least $ 600 per year.
Blackburn’s claim that churches would be closed as soon as the bill is approved appears to have materialized out of nowhere.
In fact, where the infrastructure bill mentions churches, it is rather positive.
The bill would provide $ 50 million in grants to nonprofits, including religious congregations, so they can upgrade their buildings with new energy efficient heating and cooling systems.
Blackburn’s remarks have been widely criticized for their absurdity.
The future of the infrastructure bill continues to look difficult. However, Democrats aim to pass it (and their spending plan) by the end of October, when major transportation funding programs expire.
The two plans would be the biggest expansion of the social safety net in decades and allow the country, perhaps the most important, to accelerate its climate policy amid warnings from scientists that Earth has passed tipping points due to the impacts of anthropogenic climate change.
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