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Senator John Barrasso

Photo by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A new messaging memo from the Senate Republican Conference to its members' communications teams frames President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan as a "job-crushing slush fund."

According to Politico, the memo, dated April 11, dismisses the $2.25 trillion infrastructure package as a "partisan plan to kill jobs and create slush funds on the taxpayer dime."

The memo is the latest in a series of attempts by Congressional Republicans to dent the bipartisan popularity of Biden's plan. Recent polling has shown that the vast majority of likely American voters, including 57 percent of Republicans, back the plan to invest trillions of dollars in roads, bridges, broadband, transit, water systems, clean energy, and human infrastructure like child care.

But Senate Republicans are signaling they will unanimously oppose the plan, just as they did the similarly popular $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

Among the memo's false statements:

Biden's Partisan, Job-Crushing Slush Fund spends just 5% of the total $2.7 trillion on roads and bridges.
The rest is:
  • a wish list of non-infrastructure spending on failed Obama policies;
  • a dog's breakfast of slush funds for Democrats' pet projects without any accountability or transparency;
  • expensive green energy mandates on Americans;
  • a ban on the right to work;
  • and a flurry of tax hikes that will to drive companies out of the U.S. and give China and Russia a say in the United States' tax laws.
As a result, the plan will eliminate at least 1 million jobs.

The claim that the investments will eliminate 1 million jobs is based on a prediction contained in a study conducted for the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group representing corporations that would see an increased tax rate under the plan. The group strongly backed the 2017 Trump corporate tax cuts that Biden's plan would partially reverse.

But other estimates have suggested the plan would instead increase the number of jobs. An analysis conducted at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce estimated that a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill would create or preserve 15 million jobs over the next decade. A Moody's Analytics report said that the economy will create 19 million jobs if the American Jobs Plan becomes law — 2.7 million more than it would without the legislation.

Several congressional Republicans have said that the bill's human infrastructure provisions don't count as infrastructure. But even the dictionarydefinition they have circulated notes that infrastructure includes the "basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise."

Polling has shown widespread support for the child care and caregiving provisions of the bill, though at least one Senate Republican has attackedcaring for older Americans as an insidious part of Democrats' "liberal agenda."

The plan does not take away any "right to work." It includes a provision — known as the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act — that would protect the rights of workers to unionize and engage in collective bargaining.

Fact-checkers have debunked the claim that only five percent of the bill is really infrastructure spending.

The Washington Post noted on April 5 that the five percent figure omits rail and water systems that were even included in Donald Trump's infrastructure proposals, observing, "To say that Biden's plan would devote only five to seven percent of its $2.3 trillion cost toward 'real infrastructure' is highly misleading, the kind of talking point that tries to erase recent history and parts of the English language as a battle begins to heat up in Congress."

The Republican memo was sent just before President Biden was scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the plan with a delegation of Congress members from both parties.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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