"We're going to work with Republicans. We're going to find common ground." If Americans had a dollar for every time someone from the Biden administration said that, we could almost pay for the president's infrastructure plan! Of course, with the president on a multi-city "Getting America Back on Track" tour, it would probably be poor form to say what the White House is really thinking -- which is all of the ways they might pass this $2.3 trillion dollar monstrosity without the GOP's support. Because, as Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) pointed out: if the first 100 days have taught us anything, it's that these Democrats "won't even build bridges to build bridges!"
While Biden and his team fan out through Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and other stops, his top strategists are back in Washington, trying to spin their next move. Republicans say they're willing to work with the president on his infrastructure plan -- if Biden is willing to focus on actual infrastructure and leave his party's wacky redefinitions of the concept (everything from court-packing to elder care) behind. So far, there's no indication that he would. Anita Dunn, one of the president's advisors, lowered everyone's expectations on CNN Sunday when she said, "he wants to move this package forward in a bipartisan way -- if that's possible."
The last time the president "negotiated," it cost taxpayers $1.9 trillion dollars -- most of which had nothing to do with the pandemic! White House officials rammed through their leftist wish list of so-called "COVID relief" without a single Republican vote. Now, less than two months later, Democrats may be teeing up an encore of that stunt. "If lawmakers can't reach a bipartisan agreement, Democrats have indicated they may be willing to advance one large package through a process tied to the budget known as reconciliation," the Wall Street Journal warns. "That would enable Democrats to pass legislation without GOP support -- but they couldn't afford to lose even a single member of the Democratic caucus in the evenly split Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a tiebreaking vote."
But that prospect might be thornier than the Left expects. Already, more reasonable Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) are starting to count the costs -- especially in swing states where voters aren't exactly clamoring for more debt. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wy.) and other conservatives are trying to peel off moderates from Biden's plan to their own smaller, $500 billion dollar proposal. "I've been working regularly with the other Joe," Barrasso said, "... Joe Manchin." Like other Republicans, he thinks there's "a deal to be had if we leave things out like the Green New Deal, and recyclable cafeteria trays and climate justice, because $500 billion to $600 billion of infrastructure is [still] a massive amount of infrastructure."
Like the rest of his caucus, Barrasso points out that it isn't the Republicans' fault there's no cooperation on this bill. "With coronavirus relief, we did five bipartisan bills, each of which got over 90 votes. And when President Biden came into office, gave the speech about unity on Inauguration Day. Ten Republicans went to the White House to meet with him on another coronavirus package, and we made really good faith efforts. He ignored all of it. They did this with budget reconciliation by the slimmest margin of votes. Ignored Republicans. We want to work together with this administration on true infrastructure," but ultimately, that's up to Mr. Uniter-in-Chief.
The GOP counter-offer is steep at a half-trillion dollars, but at least it goes to roads, bridges, public transit, rail, and broadband expansion. "At this point," liberal Republican Susan Collins (R-Maine) said, "Republicans have put forth a reasonable offer, it's up to the president to do a counteroffer to us." In the meantime, the warning signs are flashing as it relates to the economy. Even Biden's own economic advisors admit that America is on the verge of inflation. "These are very serious concerns," Cecilia Rouse, chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, conceded when asked. "We expect that there is going to be supply chain disruptions. That will cause some transitory increases in prices... We expect, at the most, transitory inflation."
But, as usual, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) shook his head, the president will insist that none of this will affect you. "'We're going to be taxing the wealthy,' Biden says. 'We're not going to put that burden on your shoulders.' I would just say that story has been told so long and so often in the past that we know now -- that's a fairy tale...He always lays the burden on [Americans]."
Please, Kelly said on "Washington Watch," "Somebody put up a stop sign for this man. It's time to look at who is responsible for all this spending. And it's hard-working American taxpayers. There's no other source of revenue." They talk about taxing the "rich" and the corporations, Kelly explained, but "understand that any time a politician says they're going to spend money, what they mean is they're going into your wallet, Mr. Taxpayer... And it's in their best interest of getting reelected. There's an old saying... 'You can't beat Santa Claus.' And too many of my friends actually believe that some of these things... are wonderful. And all I say to them is, it's your money that they're giving you... So if you think that's a gift, it's not. You're going to get the bill. People have to wake up."