Politics Biden's 'infrastructure' plan is a Washington power grab
Biden's infrastructure plan tests Democratic unity in Congress
The path forward on Capitol Hill for President Joe Biden's massive infrastructure bill is precarious, even among his fellow Democrats. The plan introduced in Pittsburgh Wednesday is expected to be the first of two large packages aimed at rebuilding the nation's infrastructure and creating jobs.
When President Joe Biden recently announced a $2.3 trillion spending plan, on the heels of theenacted in March, some Democrats in Washington complained. Their complaints: The price tag was not big enough, and the Washington power grab was not ambitious enough.
These are the same folks who, since taking back the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, have presided over roughly $9 trillion being added to the national debt, which is more than the combined deficits under all previous 72 years of Republican majorities in the House. At $2.3 trillion, the cost of what the president is proposing foris four times what the country spent in today’s dollars to build the national interstate highway system. Clearly, Biden will never be able to spend enough to satisfy Washington Democrats. But that does not mean he will not try.
Infrastructure plan: Republicans mobilize for showdown that will help define the Biden presidency
A defining political clash took shape Sunday over Joe Biden's latest effort to reshape the US economy, with Republicans mobilizing against a massive infrastructure plan that could put the President in historic Democratic company. © Evan Vucci/AP President Joe Biden delivers a speech on infrastructure spending at Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center, Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in Pittsburgh. GOP office holders launched a broad assault on the package, arguing it was too expensive and was stuffed with overly partisan programs that had nothing to do with fixing roads and bridges.
Instead of looking out for the country's working class and working in a bipartisan fashion on a targeted and cohesive transportation and infrastructure plan, the president has produced a massive laundry list of policies that will further entrench Washington politicians in the lives and livelihoods of the public.
Less than 6% of Biden’s $2.3 trillion plan goes toward roads and bridges. Less than 2% goes to upgrade and repair America’s waterways, lakes, dams, ports, and airports. And while the Biden administration likes to cite expanding broadband as a priority, an idea that has bipartisan support, the administration devotes less than 5% of funding to it. In fact, the president’s plan would spend 74% more on subsidies for electric vehicles than for broadband.
The fight to define infrastructure could change America
The meaning of the word "infrastructure" suddenly depends on your politics. © Evan Vucci/AP In this March 30, 2021, President Joe Biden speaks after signing the PPP Extension Act of 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Biden wants $2 trillion to reengineer America's infrastructure and expects the nation's corporations to pay for it.
Noninfrastructure items make up most of the plan — among them, $400 billion to expand Medicaid because of the Democrats’ never-ending quest to grow government-controlled healthcare programs. There is $50 billion for a new office at the U.S. Department of Commerce because of the Democrats’ never-ending quest to grow the government in general. There is $10 billion for a “Civilian Climate Corps” and an additional $100 billion in funding for schools with, of course, no requirement they reopen their doors. The president’s plan would even dictate how workers organize and unionize by overturning “right to work” laws in 27 states across the country.
Increasing federal command and control is ultimately the goal — using taxpayer dollars to make families, companies, and communities further dependent on Washington. A conversation about that would be an honest version of the debate that is unfolding.
The strategy Biden needs to pass his infrastructure plan
Joe Biden can achieve a historic restructuring of American priorities — well worth it, even if it costs him politically.As a mayor and governor, I learned the important role that infrastructure plays on quality of life and public safety, as well as economic competitiveness. It is perhaps the best creator of well-paying blue-collar jobs. Although former President Trump often talked about his infrastructure plan, he never submitted a proposal to Congress for repairing America's crumbling infrastructure. So of course I looked forward to President Biden's infrastructure plan, and I'm generally pleased with his proposal as part of the "American Jobs Plan.
We already know that Washington Democrats are not going to be satisfied with just this latest $2.3 trillion in spending. The Biden administration has previewed that a third, roughly $2 trillion, tranche is coming in short order. This one will apparently require even more social engineers than structural engineers.
All this spending will be accompanied by hundreds of billions in borrowing and trillions in tax increases. The last thing that a growing economy and growing generations need. Borrowing empowers the Chinese Communist Party, which owns a sizable portion of the country’s debt already. Pulling money out of the economy and out of the pockets of the public to launder through the Washington machine and push back out based on political priorities only further benefits the political class at the expense of the working class. It also will invariably materialize as lower wages for workers, heavier burdens on small businesses, and fewer jobs in America.
The Biden administration might try to sell its plan as roads, bridges, and broadband, but the numbers do not lie. When it comes to investing in the country’s infrastructure, repairing roads and bridges use to be the point. Now, it is merely the talking point.
Biden's infrastructure plan is huge; his political margins are minuscule
“It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” Biden said. The plan broadens the meaning of the term “infrastructure,” as it seeks to accelerate a move away from a coal economy and reverse decades of systemic racism, two central themes of the Biden administration. But it is political horse-trading, not visionary thinking, that will decide the fate of this no-tinkering-around-the-edges proposal. The sweeping proposal will succeed or fail based on the whims of just a few legislators — perhaps few enough to fit into a Capitol elevator in the pre-social distancing days.
Jason Smith represents Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives and is the Republican leader of the House Budget Committee.
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GOP to present their own smaller $650 billion infrastructure proposal .
Many GOP members have criticized Biden's bill for including in-home care, climate change, and housing under a plan meant to focus on 'infrastructure'Many GOP members have criticized Biden's bill for including in-home care, climate change, and housing under a plan meant to focus on 'infrastructure.