Fact Check: Is Only 9% of Joe Biden's COVID Stimulus Plan Going to Public Health?

President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act, his answer to COVID-19 recovery, has divided Congress along party lines as lawmakers work toward drafting a budget reconciliation package.

It's predicted that Republicans will be unlikely to agree to Democrats' terms, and some are already taking to social media to voice their gripes with the proposal.

The Claim

Congress is busy drafting its own version of Biden's American Rescue Plan, which seeks to devote $1.9 trillion to COVID-19 rescue and recovery via the budget reconciliation process. Divided into three parts, the plan appropriates money toward dealing with the coronavirus, relief for citizens, and relief for states and businesses.

On Wednesday, Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) tweeted that less than 9 percent of the stimulus goes toward public health spending and criticized Democrats for not addressing the "problems at hand."

Less than 9% of funding in the COVID stimulus bill actually goes towards public health spending.

Dems have stayed true to the motto "Never let a good crisis go to waste."

Why don't we address the problems at hand & let them debate their destructive liberal agenda on its merits?

— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) February 18, 2021

The Facts

With local governments, families, businesses and the education sector suffering the financial impact of COVID-19, many have called on the federal government to go big or go home with its aid package. Biden delivered on "big" with a whopping $1.9 trillion plan outlining a relief strategy that he hopes will begin pulling the U.S. out of financial turmoil.

According to the White House's statementon its relief proposal, the American Rescue Plan wants to appropriate $160 billion for a national vaccination program, testing expansion, a public health jobs program and other measures to combat the virus. If this is the number Boebert is referencing, then yes, less than 9 percent of the $1.9 trillion would go toward "public health spending."

But $160 billion assigned to those few areas is not the extent of what Democrats want to allot toward public health. Safely reopening schools and emergency paid leave for people who are COVID-19 positive and must take off work is given $358 billion.

While this funding is listed under Education and Labor in the Congressional Budget Resolution, it is a critical piece of public health that Democrats are considering part of overall public health spending.

"Altogether, this would put over $400 billion toward these critical measures for addressing COVID-19," the Biden administration said in its outline of the American Rescue Plan.

That puts "public health spending" at more than 20 percent of the stimulus budget, one of its largest expenditures.

The Ruling


Boebert's claim that less than 9 percent of stimulus spending is dedicated for public health looks only at the $160 billion for vaccination efforts, testing, a jobs program and other measures directly associated with health care.

Providing financial assistance for schools to prevent and manage outbreaks, and pay for workers who become infected (or have an infected member of their household), is considered a part of public health, which the American Rescue Plan looks to infuse with $358 billion.

The overall spending for public health is $400 billion, or roughly 21 percent of the proposed stimulus package.

Joe Biden is pictured in the Oval
President Joe Biden meets with labor union leaders in the Oval Office of the White House on February 17, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images/Getty
False: The claim is demonstrably false. Primary source evidence proves the claim to be false. Read more about our ratings.

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