Republicans should hit the reset button on Biden infrastructure deal
As Ronald Reagan might say, “Well, there they go again.” Congressional Republicans once more got snookered by President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on the supposed “bipartisan” infrastructure bill that was supposed to take all new taxes off the table.
But after the handshake deal was agreed upon, Biden assured Democrats, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), that the public-works deal will be followed by the biggest tax increase in modern times — and another $6 trillion spending bill. Both of these are to be passed through Senate “reconciliation” procedures without a single Republican vote.
This Democratic “double cross,” as the Wall Street Journal labeled it, was actually a big favor to the GOP. It allows them an exit option from a deal that was dreadful in the first place. In every way, the bill is a betrayal of basic conservative values of fiscal responsibility.
The bill mostly funds electric vehicles (why do taxpayers need to pay people to buy Teslas?), several hundred thousand electric charging stations across the country (gee, the government never paid to build gas stations), transmission lines for green energy, billions for 19th Century urban transit systems (many Americans walk to work more than they take transit), the biggest spending binge in history on Amtrak (which long ago should have been privatized), and union wages for everyone. This is the Green New Deal in disguise, and one tip-off to this is that practically every other sentence in the summary refers to climate change.
Oh, and there is also more than $40 billion for more Internal Revenue Service auditors. That sounds like fun.
Why any of this? With the worst of the COVID-19 crisis over, the economy recovering and the national debt crashing toward $30 trillion, Congress should be aggressively cutting spending right now. Instead, this budget-busting bill is only the gateway to another $6 trillion social-welfare spending bill and a $3 trillion tax hike.
Now that Biden has pulled his bait-and-switch, Republicans should press the reset button on this non-deal. I would suggest that GOP Senators announce that any deal with the White House going forward must contain four preconditions:
- Every dollar of new spending must be paid for by reprogramming some $2 trillion of federal funds already approved by Congress this year.
- Any infrastructure bill must include reauthorization of the Keystone XL Pipeline. There is no infrastructure more urgently needed today than pipelines to transport our energy resources across the U.S. and the world. This project costs taxpayers nothing.
- No money for Green New Deal projects. Every penny must be for real infrastructure: roads, bridges, pipelines, airports.
- No additional funding for the Internal Revenue Service, especially given its multiple scandals over the past decade. Conservative voters have not forgotten about the past tactics of using IRS enforcement to harass right-leaning groups and donors. Republicans in Congress shouldn’t forget, either.
Most importantly, Biden has a radical and “transformational” grand plan that could set the country on a path toward bankruptcy. Republicans must not be enablers of that.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at FreedomWorks and a cofounder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. He is the author of “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy.”