The Biden Infrastructure Bill; The GOP Is Providing An Education On The Art Of Flip-Flopping
Written By: Anton Sawyer
I need to make it clear that I am not choosing to pick on the Republicans for something that the Democratic National Committee has been just as guilty of since they both became the staple political parties of America. Verbal flip-flopping is nothing new and isn’t something specific to the GOP—the Democrats have been pulling numbers just as effectively. It’s one of the grossest plays utilized by those in congress, and one that both sides need to be held accountable for. But given the DNC is in power right now and the topic pertains to the blow-back over the largest infrastructure bill in American history, it’s the GOP that is under the spotlight for their political shenanigans today. Though I promise to look at the liberal wing more closely in the future.
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For those of you unaware, a bipartisan committee was put together to allocate the spending of over a trillion dollars towards the infrastructure of the US during the tenure of Biden/Harris. This was done in a bipartisan fashion due to its incredible importance. With millions still being impacted by the scourges of the Covid-19 virus, it was tasked to congress to come up with a plan. A plan to find a way to get as many Americans as possible back to work through government contracts offering employment for everything from the roads and highways of the country to the bridges and arteries that keep Americans on the roads was concocted. There will be allocations to jobs helping the environment by slowing/stopping the negative impact on the climate we have done as a species, along with doing what we can to get to get the middle-class working jobs that allow for a living wage. Due to the widening separation between the two parties (and their followers), Biden knew it was penultimate to include several Republicans on the committee as well to make its passage as smooth as possible. Though GOP radio pundits such as Sean Hannity and Buck Sexton have focused mainly on the volume and cost of programs benefiting the environment (a.k.a. The Green New Deal), in reality, this is just a minor piece of the pie. What needs a thorough looking-over is the cost to the American public, the (inevitable) flip-flopping of the conservative wing of the US when it comes to the bill, and what should be done to lighten the burden of those who are the literal backbone of the American economy; the middle and lower classes.
A report put out by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in August 2021 laid the numbers out pretty clearly. The roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill would widen the federal budget deficit by $256 billion over 10 years. “The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the 2021-2031 period, enacting Senate Amendment 2137 to H.R. 3684 would decrease direct spending by $110 billion, increase revenues by $50 billion, and increase discretionary spending by $415 billion,” the report said. “On net, the legislation would add $256 billion to projected deficits over that period.” Keeping in mind that there is no political affiliation to this group, these numbers do bear out. This is a lot of money that is going to directly fall on the backs of those who this legislation is designed to help the most. The thing that has become so interesting as of late is the way the Republican party has been speaking about it. They hate it in every way but will ultimately support it.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said “I think the infrastructure bill will pass. It’s got enough support.” But followed this statement up with something a little more contradictory. “We’ve pulled out on the stops of Covid-19 because it was literally an emergency and now this is kind of bread-and-butter legislating and we’re not going to pay for it, we’re going to add more to the deficits and debt,” Cornyn said. “I think that’s a problem. But I think we need to work harder to try and come up with credible payfors.” Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, said the bipartisan infrastructure bill’s newly released CBO score is “disappointing because we were told that it was paid for.” The CBO report brought to light that much of what was told to everyone about how everything was going to be paid for was inaccurate.
The CBO brushed aside several major provisions that lawmakers said would help pay for the bill, particularly repurposing certain unused Covid relief funds and using the savings generated by certain states terminating pandemic unemployment benefits early. The agency found these measures will provide roughly $22 billion in savings, rather than the roughly $263 billion claimed by lawmakers. In addition, the report found that Federal Communications Commission’s spectrum auctions would generate far less than the $87 billion originally claimed by lawmakers. Other provisions were touted, but they all fell short per the report. Ultimately the American people have been lied to when it comes to where the money to cover these expenses will come from … and I think that's where the conservative stance comes in.
The Republican party is smart about one thing when it comes to what pieces of legislation they vote for. They know that not all their constituents are blind “yes-men” and do keep tabs on what their leaders vote for, and against. I think the best, most recent example comes from the number of Republicans who have recently promoted pandemic relief they voted against. In May 2021 New York Republican Representative Nicole Malliotakis said it pained her to vote against the $1.9 trillion American rescue plan (a.k.a the Covid Relief bill). Yet in the weeks that followed, the first-term Republican issued a news release celebrating more than $3.7 million from the package that went to community health centers in her district as one of her “achievements.” She said she prided herself on “bringing federal funding to the district and back into the pockets of taxpayers.” Every Republican in Congress voted against the sweeping pandemic relief bill that President Joe Biden signed into law. But since the early spring votes, Republicans from New York and Indiana to Texas and Washington state have promoted elements of the legislation they fought to defeat. The best example I can give is when it’s an election year and you see a conservative candidate boast about how they “did NOT vote to increase any taxes or public spending since being elected.” Technically they are being honest, but whenever liberal legislation comes through that helps a lot of people, they will also add those benefits to their constituents as a selling point.
To be honest, I’m not happy about the increased financial load that’s going to fall on my back. I completely agree that infrastructure is something that needs to be heavily invested in, as it was one of the key elements to former President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” Given how successful that portion of the New Deal was in getting hardworking Americans back to work and out of the gutters, it’s important to see how this bill is going to play out as it’s written. I’ve said time and time again; the liberals are so concerned about staying on message, all while clinging to this notion that they can legitimately work with the conservatives on anything, that they are often the seeds of their own destruction. The filibuster is a joke, and the way it has been weaponized by both parties shows that it’s a completely antiquated notion that needs to be removed. The DNC has both the numbers and the ability to get this bill put through in a way that would be less detrimental to the working classes. Yet, they are so scared of losing the future votes of those registered as independents who support capitalism, they are willing to make bad choices to satisfy that specific demographic—no matter who it ends up costing. Though I know it won’t cover the entire spending of the infrastructure bill, I cannot see why raising taxes on the top earners by even 15% and using that money to get less fortunate Americans back to putting food on the table is such a political risk that dropping the bill on the lower classes is a much more appealing option …
Oh wait, remember earlier when I said that the Democrats like to hedge their bets and play the numbers as well when it comes to their political futures?
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