Feehery: The Bridge Over the River Kwai

Feehery: The Bridge Over the River Kwai
© Getty Images

House Republicans should be careful not to become like Colonel Nicholson in the movie, “The Bridge Over the River Kwai.” 

Nicholson, played by Alex Guinness, was the British officer who helped the Japanese build a bridge in Burma during the Second World War and then tried to thwart efforts by his own countrymen to destroy that bridge because he admired his work too much. 

I can understand why Senate Republicans are working with Democrats to pass the BID, or the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. For Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHoyer signals House vote on bill to 'remove' debt limit threat Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE (R-Ky.), he wants to do everything he can to stop Democrats from destroying the rules and traditions of the Senate, and he believes that collaborating on this deal could keep moderates from scrapping the filibuster rule. 


McConnell has forgotten more about the Senate than I will ever know, so I trust his instincts.

But when it comes to the House, it’s a different story. 

And one thing we know about the Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats step up pressure on Biden on student loan forgiveness Climate activists target Manchin Democrats face growing storm over IRS reporting provision MORE (D-Calif.). She is not much into compromise. She has her plan and she is going to jam it down the throats of her colleagues, unless House Republicans can find a way to stop her. 

Pelosi has been quite clear. She is going to join up the skinny (relatively) hard infrastructure plan with a much heavier tax and spend plan that will give nice tax breaks to wealthy earners in mostly blue states while raising taxes on job-creators and taxpayers in other states. Her spending plan is a sop to the progressive left that will lead to higher inflation and much, much bigger government. 

Democrats are pushing this plan not because the economy needs it. Indeed, last month, close to a million jobs were created, mostly because many jurisdictions eased back on COVID-19 shut-downs. Democrats are pushing this plan because their biggest donors believe that climate change is an existential threat to the universe and that the best way to deal with it is to destroy the fossil fuel industry. Consumers have already seen their gas prices rapidly increase and will soon see their utility bills follow the same path. Democrats also see this as an opportunity to totally transform our economy from mostly capitalist to mostly socialist. That is why Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks Sanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan MORE (I-Vt.), a real socialist, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez goes indoor skydiving for her birthday Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention More than 200 women, transgender inmates to be transferred from Rikers Island MORE  (D-N.Y.), also a real socialist, so strongly support the Democratic budget that was introduced yesterday.

There will be some moderate Republicans in the House who will look at the bipartisan package coming out of the Senate and think to themselves, hey, I want to get on this train. But the train leaving the House station is not going to some bipartisan utopia, made up of beautiful bridges and smoother roads. Nope, House Democrats are going to load this train with so much socialist garbage that they are aiming for a completely different type of utopia.

Republicans in unison should say thanks, but no thanks and they should put pressure on moderate Democrats to join with them in insisting that the BID is enough and anything more is a bridge too far. 

Pelosi’s game plan is to try to join the Senate bipartisan bill with the Sanders budget in one rule vote and then try to build enough momentum to get both through the House and then the Senate.  She will do that through the power of proxy voting, while most members are out of town. She is strong believer in dividing and conquering. 

Then she will use the pretext of crisis — both the debt ceiling expiration and the rise of the Delta variant — to put maximum pressure on her Caucus to vote for both the budget and the BID. She doesn’t have much margin for error, so any House Republican that joins this effort will make her job that much easier.   

Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: Build back bipartisan Feehery: A Republican Congress is needed to fight left's slide to autocracy Feehery: The 'comfort the comfortable' coalition MORE (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).