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Tag: biden infrastructure

New Poll Shows Strong Support For Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ Plan

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Likely voters in 12 key states strongly back President Joe Biden's proposed $3.5 trillion "Build Back Better" investment plan, according to a new survey from left-leaning polling outfit Data for Progress. The new survey finds majority support for each of its top provisions, even in states whose GOP senators oppose the agenda.

Data for Progress released polling on Tuesday showing that voters in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin support Biden's Build Back Better plan by at least a 15-point margin.

The data showed support for increased taxes on the wealthy and corporations, expanded caregiving infrastructure, investment to curb climate change, and a pathway to citizenship for children brought to the United States illegally as children and other undocumented immigrants working in the country.

Voters in five of the states, all of which could play an important role in upcoming national elections, are represented by at least one Republican senator who has publicly attacked the legislation and voted against the budget resolution that will potentially allow the Senate to pass it by a simple majority. But their attacks do not appear to have swayed constituents.

"Montana families & business owners are feeling the pain of #Bidenflation as prices skyrocket from groceries & gas to cars & housing," Montana Sen. Steve Daines tweeted on Friday. "Yet Democrats are still planning another massive tax & spending spree that will only make things worse. It's reckless."

But Montana's likely voters back the $3.5 trillion plan 56 percent - 41 percent. They support its investments in long-term care (77 percent - 19 percent), expanded Medicare coverage (75 percent - 22 percent), tax cuts for families (60 percent -34 percent), child care (59 percent- 36 percent), universal pre-K (57 percent - 39 percent), paid leave (55 percent -22 percent), and clean energy (51 percent -45 percent).

They also back increasing taxes on wealthy Americans (64 percent - 34 percent) and corporations (57 percent - 42 percent) and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants (62 % - 35 percent).

Support for the plan was even higher in the other 11 states surveyed.

West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito tweeted, "The Democrats' reckless tax and spending spree will ultimately be paid for by the middle-class Americans they pretend to be protecting."

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey decried it as "massively excess spending" that would combine with inflation in "a recipe for serious problems."

Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina tweeted, "President Biden and Democrats are pushing a $3.5 trillion tax and spending spree that provides amnesty to millions while doing nothing to secure our border. Hard to imagine it getting even worse at the border, but their policies will encourage more illegal immigration."

And Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin tweeted, "The Democrats proposed $5.5 TRILLION tax & spending spree is reckless. You tax success, you're going to get less of it. We can't tax our way out of this. When will we get serious about controlling out-of-control spending?"

The legislation condemned by the GOP lawmakers is also highly popular among constituents of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Democrats who have expressed some concern about the plan's price tag.

In addition to the immigration reform provisions, the Build Back Better package would incorporate elements of Biden's American Families Plan such as free community college, free preschool, expanded child tax credits, and paid leave, as well as clean energy and climate provisions from his American Jobs Plan. It would keep Biden's promise to raise taxes only on businesses and those earning more than $400,000 a year.

The recent polling results are consistent with those of earlier surveys that have shown public support for the investments and funding.

Still, every single Republican in Congress has opposed the plan.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Far-Right Disinformation Outfit 'Project Veritas' Sunk By Hurricane Ida

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The destructive flooding of Hurricane Ida as it hit the mainland U.S. has stretched from the Mississippi all the way up the Northeast of our country. The realities of our country's archaic infrastructure has even led to some GOP officials voicing their support for President Biden's infrastructure bill, which they've generally tried to neuter and delay for political gain. The costs in human misery and economic instability of doing nothing about climate change are far higher than the money we should be spending to upgrade our country's vast infrastructure needs.

Bad policy and unproductive political theater will not offer you immunity for defying science and forces like weather. Bad policy decisions concerning climate change and infrastructure hurt everyone. The Daily Beast reports that dirtbag conservative operator James O'Keefe and his Project Veritas crew lost their Mamaroneck, New York, home base to Ida's floods. Peas and carrots or thoughts and prayers, whichever one means less.

O'Keefe is probably best known for breaking the law and getting awards from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' terrible wife inside of a swampy Trump Hotel lobby for his work hiring women to create false sexual assault allegations in the hopes of discrediting real sexual assault allegations. Read that last part over to yourself again and then think about the kind of terrible hole in one's soul you have to have to be involved in that.

In a video posted to the right-wing disinformation group's YouTube channel, O'Keefe unironically says that Project Veritas' next "story" might be delayed as he works on rebuilding the organizations' infrastructure. In the video, O'Keefe calls himself and his "organization" the "most resilient organization anywhere," and then blathers on with a trite reference to the phoenix rising from the ashes. He finishes by misquoting a poem by Rudyard Kipling in sort of a perfect encapsulation of the conservative movement in our country: conjuring up an old famous imperialist, racist, and anti-Semite and then lacking the intelligence and thoroughness to even properly repeat his least offensive poetry.

Guess he'll be asking for some more of that socialist taxpayer money he and his buddies rail so hard against but love to have in the bank for a rainy day.

Biden’s Popular Infrastructure Bill Passes Senate Over GOP Opposition

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The Senate passed a bipartisan bill on Tuesday to invest $550 billion in infrastructure. But most Republican senators voted against it.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed 69-30. All of the no votes came from Republicans.

The package will provide a historic investment in transportation, water systems, broadband, and electrical grid infrastructure.

In March, President Joe Biden proposed a $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan, which included these and other infrastructure investments.

After months of negotiations, a group of 21 senators from both parties agreed in June on a framework for a bipartisan plan. Days later, Biden signed on.

Polls have shown the public strongly in support of the legislation. Large majorities of Democratic and independent voters backed the plan, as did a plurality of Republicans.

But one key Republican opposed it: former President Donald Trump.

Trump promised as a candidate in 2016 to invest in infrastructure and "build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, sea ports, and airports." Like many of his other pledges, he did not follow through— blowing up bipartisan negotiations to punish congressional Democrats for pursuing oversight of his administration.

On July 26, Trump warned Senate Republicans not to give "the Radical Left Democrats a big and beautiful win on Infrastructure" by passing the bipartisan package.

Two days later, he threatened that if the Senate GOP gives "a victory for the Biden Administration and Democrats," he and his followers will "never forget" and "lots of primaries will be coming your way!"

After those warnings, two of the Republicans who helped negotiated the deal flip-flopped and came out against it: Indiana Sen. Todd Young and South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds. Rounds missed the vote for family reasons.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Hawley Seeks To Strip Federal Funding From Schools With Mask Mandates

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) wants to strip school districts of federal funding if they require students to wear masks or get the COVID-19 vaccine — even as the delta variant continues to tear through the country.

Hawley announced on Monday that he will introduce measures to restrict funding to schools over COVID safety precautions as part of 15 amendments he wants to tack to the budget resolution Democrats released earlier that day. Democrats are hoping to use the budget resolution to pass a major infrastructure bill that includes many of President Joe Biden's priorities.

Hawley's proposals come as states across the country are seeing a surge of COVID-19 cases, thanks to the highly contagious delta variant.

Cases among children have skyrocketed, with the American Academy of Pediatrics announcing on August 5 they've seen a "substantial increase" in the number of children contracting the virus.

Doctors in hotspots including Florida and Louisiana — which are currently experiencing the worst outbreaks in the country — say they are seeing more and more children admitted to hospitals and intensive care units.

But Republican lawmakers like Hawley have been fighting efforts that public health experts say can end the pandemic.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy let slip that nearly one-third of Republicans in his caucus have refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine at all. And many House Republicans are also against wearing masks.

Doctors say masks are especially important now for kids ages 11 and under, as they are currently ineligible to receive the vaccine and thus do not have immunity.

It looks unlikely that Hawley's amendments will pass, as Democrats have a majority in the Senate.

However, Florida's GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis has already threatened schools that require masks, saying they could risk state education funding for implementing the policy. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has made similar threats, saying that schools or businesses that require masks could risk fines.

Major school districts are already defying both DeSantis and Abbott, announcing mask requirements amid the surge of COVID-19 cases.

The Dallas Independent School District on Monday announced that it will require all students, staff, and visitors to wear masks in order "to protect staff and students from the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus."

And a handful of school districts in Florida are also defying DeSantis' ban on mask requirements, including Leon County schools, which includes Florida's capital of Tallahassee. Cases there are skyrocketing, and intensive care unit beds are nearly all full, according to data from the New York Times.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Really? Senate Republicans Credit Trump For Infrastructure Bill He Opposes

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The Senate slogged away through the weekend, inching toward an agreement on the $1.5 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which was delayed by one Republican senator's refusal to sign off on an amendment to speed things up. Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Hagerty refused to allow unanimous consent to forego 30 hours of time-wasting on Saturday, requiring the Senate to be in on Sunday and running the clock out. That sets up a vote for around 3:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, unless somehow Hagerty can be convinced to give in and allow it to move faster.

Hagerty had been on the phone with the former guy, according to sources to AP, who had been egging him on in obstructing the bill. Previous to his election to the Senate, Hagerty had been Trump's ambassador to Japan, and is one of his staunchest allies in Congress. Efforts by Senate Republicans to appease Trump apparently fell on deaf ears.

On Friday, chief Republican negotiator Sen. Rob Portman even went on national television to give all the credit to Trump for this bill. Literally. "I have encouraged President Trump to take credit for this," Portman said on CNN. "President Trump's effort to raise the level of awareness about the need for infrastructure improvement should help us get this done. He proposed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill. He's a developer, he understands the need for infrastructure."

The slobbering over the former squatter in the Oval Office continued on the Senate floor.

The delay also highlighted a growing dispute on amendments. Hagerty, in fact, tried to bring up 17 amendments on Sunday by unanimous consent. More than 20 have already been considered so far. That self-appointed paragon of bipartisanship, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, objected to his request, pointing to the fact that he was just wasting everyone's time.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer got a little testy about it, as well. "I'd repeat that Democrats are ready and willing to vote on additional amendments to the bill before moving to final passage," Schumer said Sunday one the floor. "Once again, that will require the cooperation of our Republican colleagues." He added, "I said yesterday that we could do this the easy way or the hard way. Yesterday, it appeared that some Republicans would like the Senate to do this the hard way. In any case, we'll keep proceeding until we get this bill done."

There's a possibility that more amendments will be considered as the Senate moves toward a Tuesday (sometime) vote, including a problematic cryptocurrency proposal that has created bipartisan tension. It was apparently resolved by mid-morning Monday, helping to clear the way toward finalizing the bill.

The bipartisan infrastructure package includes $550 billion in new federal spending, about $110 billion for roads and bridges including $40 billion for bridges—rebuilding, replacing, and repairing. There's a relatively paltry $39 billion to modernize public transit—a $10 billion cut from the original agreement the senators had worked out with President Biden and less than half of the $85 billion Biden included in his original proposal. It includes $73 billion to repair the electrical grid, and $55 billion for water system upgrades, enough to replace just 1 in 4 lead drinking water pipes in the country.

There's $66 billion split between passenger and freight rail, and $65 billion in expanding broadband networks. Another $42 billion goes to ports ($17 billion) and airports ($25 billion), and $7.5 billion will go to zero- and low-emission buses and ferries. There's also $7.5 billion to build electric vehicle charging stations.

As of now, it looks like there will be Republican votes to pass it, with more than a dozen ending the filibuster on moving it forward. They've apparently decided that being able to go back to their home states and tout this accomplishment is worth helping Democrats. It will mollify some of the anti-Trump Republicans in the key states they need to keep in 2022, and it will give them the excuse to let absolutely nothing else pass for the rest of Biden's first term.

They can point to the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill and scream holy hell about the awful Democrats to resist doing anything else to help the country. In fact, they're already doing that.

Jealous Trump Threatens Republican Senators Over Infrastructure Deal

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former President Donald Trump criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Republican lawmakers' $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. Describing the incentive as "a disgrace," Trump condemned the package shortly before the upper chamber's scheduled vote on the long-debated effort, according to The Hill.

Releasing a statement through the "Save America PAC," Trump took direct aim at McConnell.

"Joe Biden's infrastructure bill is a disgrace," Trump wrote. "If Mitch McConnell was smart, which we've seen no evidence of, he would use the debt ceiling card to negotiate a good infrastructure package."

Trump admitted that he doubts lawmakers actually took the time to read the lengthy piece of proposed legislation, which is reportedly comprised of 2,700 pages. He added, "They would have needed to take speed reading courses."

"It is a gift to the Democrat Party, compliments of Mitch McConnell and some RINOs [Republicans in name only], who have no idea what they are doing," he added.

Focusing on the upcoming elections, the former president noted that he believes the "infrastructure bill will be used against the Republican Party."

Trump even included what appears to be a vailed threat toward current Republican lawmakers as he warned, "It will be very hard for me to endorse anyone foolish enough to vote in favor of this deal."

Despite Trump's latest rant, none of the Republican lawmakers in support of the bill have signaled that they will vote to oppose the bill.

"We still have amendments that need to be processed." McConnell said, adding, "Once they are, we'll be able to wind things down."

Trump argues that Republican lawmakers should refrain from voting on the infrastructure bill until after the midterm election in 2022. Believing it will be beneficial for Republicans, he added, "Remember, you already have the card, it's called the debt ceiling, which the Democrats threatened us with constantly."

Republicans Block Infrastructure Bill That Promises 500K New Manufacturing Jobs

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A new analysis shows that bipartisan infrastructure legislation could result in the creation of 100,000 new high-wage equipment-manufacturing jobs by 2025, and nearly half a million new manufacturing jobs overall. But Senate Republicans are still refusing to allow debate on the bill to begin.

According to data released Tuesday by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, a trade group, the $579 billion in new infrastructure investment contained in the plan, combined with funding in another bipartisan surface transportation bill pending before Congress, would be a huge boon to manufacturing.

The association represents the interests of construction and agriculture equipment manufacturers.

"The bipartisan infrastructure framework agreed to by the White House and a group of Senators, coupled with a five-year surface transportation reauthorization, is vital for the 2.8 million men and women of the equipment manufacturing industry, for their families and communities, for the U.S. economy, and for bipartisanship in this country," Kip Eideberg, the association's senior vice president of government and industry relations, said in a press release.

"The data shows that it would also create nearly 500,000 new manufacturing jobs overall, generate over $2 billion in new federal, state, and local tax revenue from the equipment manufacturing industry, and result in an additional $27 billion in overall economic output," he noted.

The report predicts that the jobs created would be "highly-skilled and will have an annual income of over $88,000 that is more than 35% above the national average for all employees."

A bipartisan group of senators agreed in June to a framework for infrastructure investment, focusing on transportation, broadband, and water systems, with 11 Republicans pledging to back the proposal. President Joe Biden endorsed the plan and has been pushing Congress to enact it.

But on July 21, every single Republican in the Senate voted against beginning debate on the framework.

Several of the Republicans who had agreed to the deal but refused to debate it said then that they just needed a few more days to work out the legislative text.

"We're a no today because we're not ready," explained Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. "We're saying we do want to take up this bill as soon as we are, and we think that'll be Monday."

But as of Tuesday morning, the group is still refusing to move ahead to debate the legislation.

One key sticking point has been how to pay for the investments. Though the initial bipartisan agreement included a major crackdown on wealthy tax cheats, Republicans have since abandoned those provisions, caving to what Portman called "pushback" from other GOP senators who refused to give more funds to the understaffed Internal Revenue Service for tax code enforcement.

Recent polling shows strong support for the investment package. A Navigator Research survey released on July 22 found 66 perecent of registered voters support the framework. It had support from 86 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents, and even a 46 percent plurality of Republicans.

In addition to manufacturing jobs, climate advocates say many of its provisions would help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change while creating numerous clean energy jobs.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Biden Infrastructure Plan Can Slow Climate Change: Expert

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A bipartisan infrastructure deal backed by President Joe Biden could be key in addressing climate change, one climate expert says, even if talks on the bill have been slowed by GOP pushback.

Evan Endres, climate and energy policy manager for The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania, told The American Independent Foundation on Monday that his state has a "complicated carbon puzzle that needs to be solved" and that a set of bipartisan infrastructure investments being considered by Congress could be one part of the solution.

Last month, Biden and a bipartisan group of senators agreed on a $579 billion framework for those investments in transportation, broadband, and water systems infrastructure. Although negotiations on the exact language of the bill have stalled, discussions are ongoing.

The framework includes funds to invest in electric vehicle infrastructure, electrify school and transit buses, upgrade the power grid, and clean up pollution.

Addressing those issues alone would be a boon to Pennsylvania, Endres said. "A lot of positive things are being discussed — concrete climate solutions that would create jobs and opportunity in Pennsylvania," he said.

Electrification of trucks and "heavy duty equipment," for instance, would jumpstart the state's economy directly, he explained.

"Mack Trucks, an American stalwart brand, makes an electric truck right here in Pennsylvania, at the Lehigh Valley Operations in Macungie ... heavy duty electric trucks you might see in a municipal trash fleet," he said. "A lot of the support for heavy duty electrification of equipment speaks directly to a brand that's part of the heart and soul of Pennsylvania."

He also noted that investments in battery and storage capacity could benefit the state. "We're a major exporter of electricity to other states," Endres said. "The more we can improve storage, the more we can export renewable energy."

As of now, the state is not only emitting greenhouse gases at home — it is also sending it out to other states.

"We're fifth in the nation for carbon emissions, we're a major exporter of energy to most states in the mid-Atlantic. We're the second largest net exporter of electricity behind Texas," he said. "Not only are we a large carbon emitter, but we're exporting that carbon-intensive electricity to other states who are also working to solve the carbon problem, the climate problem."

Endres is similarly bullish on provisions to deploy renewable energy generation efforts on the same lands that were once used for coal mining.

"That's something that should excite Pennsylvanians, particularly communities close to those formerly mined lands," he said. "You're bringing a new economic stimulation, development to those same lands through renewable energy, solar energy. That's a great intersection for those areas."

With a bipartisan infrastructure package passed, he added, more jobs will follow. "That tech requires a lot of construction, jobs for pipefitters, electricians, building trades, laborers," he said.

Endres also flagged another area that could lead to a jobs boost: cleaning up abandoned oil and gas wells.

The state's fossil fuel legacy, he said, includes "an unfathomable number of abandoned oil and gas wells. It's not uncommon to hear of hunters in the woods in Pennsylvania stumbling on an open well emitting methane as a pollutant — maybe it was drilled 80 or 90 years ago and no one is responsible."

Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection has documented about 9,000 of those orphaned wells — but estimates the number that need to be capped is in the hundreds of thousands.

"Going through, finding these things, capping them safely," Endres said, is "not only a climate solution but a big job that will require engineers, technicians, people who know how to work safely with open gas wells, people being out in the field to identify, tag them, and assess the priority."

He added, "It's a big problem and a climate liability. Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than just carbon emission."

In all, the bipartisan package is a series of "really great first steps" and some "really great second steps," but ones that need to be hurried along soon.

"There's a lot of promising change happening. What we need is the kind of policy and investments that put a little gasoline on that fire of change," he concluded, before adding jokingly, "...Or flip the switch on the solar panels."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.