Democrat Infrastructure Bill: Last week, Senate Democrats announced that they’d reached an infrastructure bill budget agreement. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
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Last week, “Senate Democrats announced that they’d reached a budget agreement envisioning spending an enormous $3.5 trillion over the coming decade, paving the way for their drive to pour federal resources into climate change, health care and family-service programs sought by President Joe Biden.” Alan Fram and Lisa Mascaro write for the Associated Press that “the accord marks a major step in the party’s push to meet Biden’s goal of bolstering an economy that was ravaged by the pandemic and setting it on course for long-term growth — and includes a Medicare expansion of vision, hearing and dental benefits for older Americans, a goal of progressives.” Here’s what both sides are saying about the blockbuster budget.
On The Right
Right-leaning commentators and outlets think the Democratic budget proposal calls for way too much spending — especially on top of COVID relief funds that have already been approved and an infrastructure agreement that is in the works. In regards to whether or not they think it will pass, Conservative pundits are split. Basically, it comes down to Democrats like Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Moderate Republicans can also push back as well, they note.
“The Sanders Democrats Go For Broke” Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal: “The price of Republicans losing those two Georgia Senate seats in January was always going to be steep, and late Tuesday Democrats presented America with the bill. … Don’t believe the spin that this is a compromise from the $6 trillion that Mr. Sanders floated some weeks ago. That was a feint to make the final number appear more moderate. This would be the largest spending increase in US history, and a huge increase in the size and scope of government. … Democrats are going for broke—literally. … All of this will be ‘paid for’ with a combination of tax increases and phony accounting. … The only chance Republicans have to stop the $4.1 trillion Sanders-Pelosi agenda is to make the public case against it and force Democrats on Capitol Hill to take sole responsibility for the consequences if they pass it.”
“The media just fooled themselves again on the odds for Biden’s $6T spending agenda” John Podhoretz, New York Post: “What a triumph for our new FDR-LBJ! Biden has already racked up $2 trillion in coronavirus emergency bucks. Now he will be adding $3.5 trillion on top of that — and who knows, maybe the infrastructure bill will finally come through with another $1.2 trillion. Yes, nearly $7 trillion in new spending splashing over America. … The only problem: The story about the $3.5 trillion agreement wasn’t true. … there [are] at least two Democratic senators who had in no way agreed to anything. Joe Manchin of West Virginia … And Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. … The political reality is that there is no national mandate for a transformative leftist presidency. And if the media made that clear in their coverage, they would do a better job of informing gullible fellow liberals about the way things really are in the capital. … But where the mainstream media are concerned, the heart wants what it wants.”
“Republicans must not legitimize Democrats’ absurd $3 trillion reconciliation bill” Kaylee McGhee, Washington Examiner: “Unfortunately, it is looking more and more likely that Democrats will succeed. … Republicans might not be able to do much about this, but they can at least prevent Biden from adding another $600 billion in new spending by pulling their support for his bipartisan deal. Sen. Mitt Romney, one of the Republican senators involved in the negotiations over the bipartisan package, suggested this might be the necessary course of action. … Democrats’ reconciliation package proves they were never interested in a legitimate, good-faith compromise. Biden’s bipartisan shtick was always a charade, and Republicans should not give it even an ounce of legitimacy.”
On The Left
Left-leaning commentators and outlets support the Democrats’ budget proposal and mention that some were even calling for more. They note that passing the budget is no sure thing, however, and that Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have to keep their party in line.
“The Democrats’ far-reaching budget bill: An antidote to the filibuster?” Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times: “… though progressives may be disappointed that it did not go further, the measure could deliver the largest expansion of federal support programs of any single piece of legislation since the 1960s. … Which is not to say that it’s radical. Instead, Biden and his Democratic allies are seeking to build on a wide range of programs that haven’t kept pace with the public’s needs. Even the new elements, such as paid family leave and universal pre-K, mirror existing programs at the state level. … There is much to like in the outline, particularly the clean energy initiatives and the expansions in tax credits and subsidies for low- and moderate-income workers and families. For all the missing detail, though, there’s no mistaking the senators’ ambition, or that of Biden’s effort to bring federal social programs into line with 21st century realities — and with what other industrialized nations have been doing for years.”
“Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget plan goes big — finally” Hayes Brown, MSNBC Opinion Columnist: “There are no votes for Democrats to lose in the Senate, and just four defections in the House would doom this whole endeavor. But if they pull this off, it would be one of the biggest expansions of the social safety net in decades and a veritable smorgasbord of other progressive priorities. … Extending the child tax credit expansion until at least 2024. Universal child care, pre-kindergarten and community college free of cost. Expanding Medicare to include vision, dental and hearing coverage for millions of Americans. A provision on immigration reform, which advocates hope will include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. … This is the exact sort of balling out that liberals and progressives have been waiting for from Democrats. No, the fate of the package isn’t beholden to the GOP — it’s only the Democrats who can trip themselves up. … All told, it’s going to be a wild few weeks as the party’s leaders try to white-knuckle their way to the finish line.”
“How Big Spending Got Its Groove Back” Paul Krugman, New York Times Opinion: “… there has clearly been an incredible change — a sharp move to the left — in what is considered politically realistic. So how did big spending get its groove back? Let me offer five explanations. First, COVID-19, and the extraordinary policy measures America took to limit economic hardship during the economy’s induced coma, had a lasting impact on economic ideology. … Second, the legend of Reaganomics has become unsustainable. … Third, debt scaremongers have lost most of their credibility. … Fourth, the field of economics has become much more evidence-based than it used to be — and economists have assembled a great deal of data pointing to the benefits of public spending, especially aid to families with children. … Finally, Republicans have lost interest in policy. … Again, the big spending plans now on the table might still not pass. Democrats have a razor-thin majority in Congress, and failure remains an option. But right now, it looks as if big spending is making a comeback — and it’s doing so for all the right reasons.”
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According to an Ipsos poll conducted in May on behalf of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, “A strong majority of Americans are concerned about the national debt and want federal spending to be more balanced between generations.” The poll found that 3 out of 4 Americans agree that the national debt is worth worrying about. This group thinks that too much federal debt could hurt the economy, and two-thirds of Americans believe the national debt is “an unfair legacy we are leaving to our children.”
Keep an eye on immigration. “Democrats are exploring immigration changes worth $120 billion in the budget reconciliation measure,” NBC notes. While this can pass without Republican support, “It is unclear what measures the Senate parliamentarian would allow under the ‘Byrd rule,’ which restricts the reconciliation process to changes in spending and taxes.” Simply put, “Democrats face the challenging task of crafting immigration language that can survive the Byrd rule.”
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Do you support or oppose the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget proposal? Comment below to share your thoughts.