On August 5, the Congressional Budget Office released an estimate for the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. Though many Republicans had criticized the bill, a significant number of them are now supporting it. In fact, the number of GOP lawmakers backing the infrastructure bill is good enough to get it passed in the Senate.
On July 28, 17 Republican senators had voted to advance the bill. At that time, the full text of the bill did not even exist. Republican Ron Johnson, who had voted against advancing the bill, said that it would only add more debt to the country’s $30 trillion deficit. In an interview with Breitbart, Johnson had called Republicans that cooperated with Democrats on the infrastructure bill as being complicit in the leftist agenda and contributing towards inflation.
Now that the details of the infrastructure package have been released, some Republican lawmakers are publicly endorsing it. The bill will need 60 votes in the Senate to be passed. The Senate is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. If the 17 Republicans that voted to advance the bill also vote for its passage, the Democrat bill will easily cross the 60 vote threshold necessary to get it approved. One of the leading Republicans supporting the bill is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“McConnell says he does not want Schumer to file cloture to end amendment debate today. He said he will encourage his negotiators to vote against cloture if Schumer goes that path… ‘Slow and steady wins the race’, McConnell says,” tweeted Jake Sherman, founder of Punchbowl News.
‘Very strong indication’ McConnell will support $550 billion bill
In another tweet, Chief Congressional Correspondent for CNN, Manu Raju stated that McConnell gave a “very strong indication” that he will likely support the infrastructure bill. “He voted to proceed to the bill but now strongly suggested he’d be a YES on final passage (assuming he gets the amendment process he wants),” Raju said.
The $1.2 trillion package includes $550 billion in new federal investments in infrastructure over a period of five years. It is smaller than the $2.25 trillion package that was initially announced by President Joe Biden which had attracted severe criticism from Republicans.
The trimmed-down $1.2 trillion proposal allocates $110 for roads, bridges, and other major infrastructure projects, $39 billion for modernizing public transit, $11 billion for transportation safety, $66 billion investment in passenger and freight rail, $65 billion in improving America’s broadband infrastructure, $17 billion in port infrastructure, $25 billion for the maintenance of airports, $7.5 billion for zero and low-emission buses and ferries, $73 billion to rebuild the electric grid, $55 billion to upgrade water infrastructure, $50 billion to make infrastructure resilient to cyberattacks and disasters.
While lawmakers claim that the bill would pay for itself, the Congressional Budget Office calculated that the project would add roughly $350 billion in deficit over a 10-year period.
Former President Donald Trump stated that he found it “hard to believe” that Republicans are dealing with “radical left Democrats” to get the “so-called bipartisan bill” passed.
“This will be a victory for the Biden Administration and Democrats, and will be heavily used in the 2022 election. It is a loser for the USA, a terrible deal, and makes the Republicans look weak, foolish, and dumb. It shouldn’t be done. It sets an easy glidepath for Dems to then get beyond what anyone thought was possible in future legislation. It will be a continued destruction of our Country,” Trump said in a July 28 statement.
‘Green New Deal lite’
Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks lashed out at the bill, calling it a “Green New Deal lite.” In a memo published on August 2, the Republican outlined several problems with the infrastructure package.
He pointed out that only $110 billion out of the $1.2 trillion is allocated for projects that the American people generally consider “infrastructure,” which includes roads, bridges, and so on. A part of the $110 billion is earmarked for projects aimed at fighting the “racism physically built into some of our highways.” Regulators overseeing broadband expansion are instructed not to use the funds in a way that it discriminates against people based on “gender identity.” It pushes the “left’s social justice mission” as the term “equity” is used 54 times.
“No one should support something that will serve as a trojan horse for the Democrats’ reconciliation package, which the White House wants to use to pass massive amnesty,” the memo stated.
In a July 28 statement, Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said that they were “deeply concerned” that the bill is not fully paid for and that it includes several budget “gimmicks” aimed at making the bill appear less expensive than it truly is.
“It also relies on several phony offsets that will save little or no money. This includes taking credit for savings that have already occurred and reviving budget gimmicks like pension smoothing,” MacGuineas said.
The bill also includes roughly $30 billion in cryptocurrency taxes, a move that Republican Ted Budd says could harm American jobs.In a series of tweets, Republican Senator Mike Braun called the claim that the bill is paid for as being “completely phony.” For instance, $205 billion is being repurposed from unused COVID-19 relief funds. “Reshuffling money we borrowed in the first place doesn’t count as a pay-for.” He also stated that the $550 billion in additional spending is “on top of the baseline which already isn’t paid for” and that the highway reauthorization proposal has a $100 billion deficit.