After President Joe Biden’s changing statements about what kind of infrastructure-labeled spending spree he intends to sign into law, Republicans face a conundrum. GOP senators still think they have a deal with Democrats that will fund infrastructure, not a left-wing laundry list of entitlement spending and Green New Deal power grabs.
But Biden and congressional Democrats are still planning on passing a second bill that will contain exactly the kind of spending spree that Republicans say they oppose. Democrats think they can do it by the back-door strategy of a reconciliation bill that jettisons the need for support from any GOP senator.
That leaves Republican voters wondering if the bipartisan deal mainstream Republicans are touting as proof that they have stood up to Biden and a victory is nothing of the kind. Rather than having forced Democrats to agree to their terms, the left’s determination to get their way on both infrastructure and the rest of their spending plans may mean that Republicans are being rolled by their smarter and more ruthless adversaries again.
The bloated $4 trillion “infrastructure” plan Biden unveiled in the spring included a wide-ranging leftist wish list of spending projects on environmentalism and entitlements. Democrats brazenly deconstructed the definition of infrastructure to come up with a proposal in which anything they liked could fall under its meaning.
Even the most weak-minded of the moderate Senate Republicans understood Biden’s attempt to reboot Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” for the 21st century by calling everything “infrastructure” was a bridge too far. In a Senate split down the middle between the two parties, there was no way this boondoggle could obtain the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster.
So Biden ultimately agreed to a deal with Republicans that would allegedly limit the spending to projects dictionaries would define as infrastructure. The result was the celebratory June 24 announcement at the White House of the deal. But within hours, the DC Republican establishment was reminded of the perils of trying to be reasonable in an era of partisan ideological culture wars fought by people
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