Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill favors minorities

Clauses in the bill state that special aid will be given to women and minority groups, without offering the same help to white business owners.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill according to which citizens would receive $1,400 stimulus checks from the government and struggling businesses would get cash lifelines. But some business owners aren’t celebrating.

Clauses in the bill state that special aid will be given to women and minority groups, without offering the same help to white business owners.

For example, Section 1005 of the bill offers “socially disadvantaged” farm owners complete forgiveness on debt up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The section explains that the farm aid is “for the purposes of addressing the longstanding and widespread discrimination against socially disadvantaged farmers.”

Federal law defines “socially disadvantaged” as people from racial groups who faced historical discrimination. This would exclude white people.

Another part of the bill offers restaurant owners a much-needed lifeline of up to $5 million per location. But for the first three weeks of the program, only certain groups may apply for the funding – namely, women, veterans, and members of “socially and economically disadvantaged” groups.

Section 4201 of the bill reserves $1 billion in loans specifically for minority-owned businesses.

The language in the bill appears to be at odds with the 14th Amendment, which states that all U.S. citizens must be treated equally under the law, without privileges for specific groups.

After Oregon set aside $62 million in relief funds specifically for black business owners in October 2020, Mexican-American coffee shop owner Marcia Garcia sued the state for racial discrimination. Her lawsuit posits that Oregon’s policy of distributing funds based on race is unconstitutional.

“Due to COVID-19, my Mexican, woman-owned business lost customers, lost its employees, and almost lost its lease, but I have been fighting hard to survive,” Garcia said. “It’s not fair that the state would deny access to relief solely because of my race.”

In Colorado, white barbershop owner Etienne Hardre sued Gov. Jared Polis over $4 million in funds set aside strictly for minority-owned businesses.

Hardre’s business lost almost a third of its income during the pandemic, but because he is white, he is not eligible for the relief funds.

“We have nothing against minorities, minorities are fantastic,” Hardre said. “However, everybody, all Americans, all Coloradans have been hurt. Business owners of all kinds, whites as well as minorities.”