There are a few big catches in GOP Sen. McSally's supposed plan to pay for Americans' vacations

There are a few big catches in GOP Sen. McSally's supposed plan to pay for Americans' vacations

An endangered Republican senator has a coronavirus relief idea that would send thousands of dollars to families in need of … a vacation. Sen. Martha McSally has introduced a bill giving people $4,000 each, plus $500 for dependent children, to vacation more than 50 miles from home but inside the United States. Before you start planning a major blowout trip, there are a few catches you should know about.


First, of course, the bill isn’t passing. This is McSally engaging in a desperate ploy to get some attention as Mark Kelly leads her in the polls and swamps her in fundraising. Then there’s the pandemic, which makes most travel questionable, particularly in McSally’s COVID-19 hot spot of a home state, Arizona. But even if it passed, and was safe, most families would not get a vacation out of it.

The $4,000 or $8,000 or more would come in the form of tax credits, which is to say that only people who could afford to pay for such a vacation up front could use it. And the tax credits wouldn’t be refundable, so only people who pay substantial federal income taxes would get the benefit. That’s not even mentioning people who don’t have paid vacation time.

Translation: This is a no-chance bill that would only help people who are already very comfortable, financially speaking.

And McSally is proposing it at the same time as she is, along with other Republicans, ready to cut off expanded unemployment insurance benefits.

It’s nice to dream about a vacation these days, and McSally is playing on that wistfulness in so many of us, along with a big pander to the Arizona tourism industry. But she’s also sending a strong message about who she serves in the Senate.

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