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Tag: bipartisan infrastructure

Republican Civil War Erupts Over Infrastructure Vote

Reprinted with permission American Independent

Conservative Republican members of Congress appeared on Fox News and Newsmax on Tuesday night to lament the fact that 19 Republican senators voted for the bipartisan infrastructure package, along with every Democratic senator.

The $1.2 trillion package provides funds to repair and construct roads, bridges, and railroad systems across the country, among other projects.

Despite polling repeatedly showing widespread support for the infrastructure plan — across party lines — conservative outlets have frequently attacked it.

On Newsmax TV's Rob Schmitt Tonight, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) described the legislation as part of an agenda of "crazy ideas" offered up by Democrats.

He said the infrastructure bill was part of a package of "four stupid ideas" and said, "This is ridiculous, and the American people know it. Why senators, Republican senators, voted for it, I'll never know."

Appearing on Fox News' Hannity, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) sounded a similar note.

Kennedy said that Democrats wanted the bill's passage "like Ben [Affleck] wants J-Lo [Jennifer Lopez" and said Republicans "just got out-maneuvered, intelligence was chasing us and we got beat."

Conservative host Sean Hannity said Republicans "beat themselves" by voting for the bill and Kennedy agreed, replying, "that's what I'm saying." He went on to describe the bill as a "dumpster fire."

Fox News host Mark Levin on Tuesday called for a primary challenge to the Republicans who voted for the legislation, while the network has repeatedly attempted to claim that the infrastructure spending in the bill is not really infrastructure.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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.

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."

GOP Senate Campaign Chair Blasts 17 Colleagues Who Support Infrastructure Deal

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) scolded 17 of his Republican colleagues on Thursday for helping Democrats pass "reckless spending." But as chair of the party's campaign arm, it's his job to get them re-elected.

Scott appeared on an online series posted by Americans for Prosperity, an anti-government dark money group created by petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch.

In the interview, he complained that 67 of his Senate colleagues — 50 Democrats in addition to the 17 Republicans ‚ voted on Wednesday to begin consideration of a bipartisan infrastructure agreement.

"I think you should be pretty disappointed first off. So last night we took a vote to proceed on a bill that we've never seen the text on. Just think about that: we had all these senators vote for a bill they've never seen," Scott said.

He objected to the package, which he said was $1.2 trillion, lamenting, "We don't know how it's gonna get paid for." And he said backing that package was "just part of helping the Democrats get the $5.5 trillion bill done," referring to a proposed $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package also expected to be considered in the upcoming weeks.

"If you think about everything they're doing: It's reckless spending," Scott charged, before blasting his colleagues for even voting to debate the proposal:

Should politicians be voting for bills they've never read? I don't think they should. Should they be voting for bills that they don't know how they're gonna get paid for? They shouldn't. Should they be honest with you as a taxpayer of what's gonna happen to your taxes? They should. Should we create a bunch of new social programs and all this liberal wish list? I don't believe that's where the American public is.

The vote in question was on a motion to proceed to consideration of H.R. 3684, a vehicle to allow debate on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted in favor.

"I'm glad to see these discussions making progress and I was happy to vote to begin moving the Senate toward what ought to be a robust, bipartisan floor process for legislation of this magnitude," the Kentucky Republican said Thursday.

The bipartisan plan will invest $550 billion in new transportation, broadband, electric vehicle, and water system infrastructure. It will be paid for by repurposing unspent funds, corporate fees, and expanded cryptocurrency tax enforcement, among other things.

Contrary to Scott's accusation, no one was voting for a bill they had not read. The motion merely allowed the beginning of the debate and amendment process. Passage of the bill will only come after its text is finalized and agreed upon by at least 60 senators.

In January, Scott became chair of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign. In that position, he is tasked with re-electing GOP Senate incumbents and trying to win back the majority in the 2022 elections.

"I look forward to working with Leader McConnell and all of our incumbents while recruiting strong challengers across the country," he vowed at the time. "Our Party is unified and united. We are focused on the future and we will win."

But five of the GOP incumbents up for re-election next year were among the people Scott just denounced: Idaho's Mike Crapo, Iowa's Chuck Grassley, North Dakota's John Hoeven, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, and Indiana's Todd Young.

Polling also suggests Scott is very wrong about what the public wants. A Navigator Research poll last week found 66 percent of registered voters — and even a 46 percent plurality of Republicans — back the bipartisan infrastructure framework.

Other polls have also shown broad support for the priorities likely to be included in the Democratic reconciliation package.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

GOP Senators Torpedo Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal They Endorsed

Reprinted with permission from American independent

Senate Republicans used the filibuster rule on Wednesday to block consideration of a bipartisan infrastructure deal — weeks after several of them endorsed the $579 billion package.

Every member of the Democratic Senate majority backed beginning consideration of H.R. 3684, a procedural step needed to debate and pass the bipartisan framework, but because Senate rules require a three-fifths supermajority for this type of legislation, the Republican minority was able to block it.

President Joe Biden proposed a $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan in March, asking Congress to improve the nation's transportation, water systems, broadband, clean energy, climate change, and caregiving infrastructure.

On June 16, after lengthy negotiations, a bipartisan group of senators agreedon a deal, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, to invest $579 billion in "core infrastructure" programs only, including transportation, broadband, and water systems.

Republican Sens. Richard Burr (NC), Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Lindsey Graham (SC), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rob Portman (OH), Mitt Romney (UT), Mike Rounds (SD), Thom Tillis (NC), and Todd Young (IN) all signed onto a joint statement with 10 members of the Democratic majority, affirming their support for the deal.

"We support this bipartisan framework that provides an historic investment in our nation's core infrastructure needs without raising taxes," the statement read. "We look forward to working with our Republican and Democratic colleagues to develop legislation based on this framework to address America's critical infrastructure challenges."

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) endorsed the plan later that day.

On June 24, Biden signed on to the bipartisan plan and has been urging its passage since.

"We should be united on one thing: passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, which we shook hands on," he said on Monday. "We shook hands on it."

But not long after the agreement, some Republicans began to have second thoughts.

Some objected to acknowledgements by Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress that they would later try to pass some of their other priorities — including the omitted climate change, child care, and caregiving "human infrastructure" provisions — through a separate budget reconciliation process, without any GOP support. Graham complained that this plan amounted to extortion.

They then abandoned one of the key provisions that financed the bipartisan agreement: a crackdown on wealthy tax dodgers who are not currently paying their fair share. Portman said Sunday that they had dropped the provision due to "pushback" from Republican senators who did not want to give more money to the understaffed Internal Revenue Service to enforce the tax code.

Again, Graham protested the deal he'd backed, telling Axios on June 30, "There's some people on our side who don't like empowering the IRS; I don't mind empowering the IRS if it's a reasonable thing to do. But I mean, how much uncollected taxes can you gather with $40 billion?"

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer moved to bring up the framework on Wednesday as a way to speed up the bill writing process. "I understand that both sides are working very hard to turn the bipartisan infrastructure framework into final legislation, and they will continue to have more time to debate, amend and perfect the bill once the Senate votes to take up this crucial issue," the New York Democrat explained to colleagues on Monday. "But they have been working on this bipartisan framework for more than a month already, and it's time to begin the debate."

Republicans said they were not ready to move forward.

Senate Republican Whip John Thune — who memorably ran for his seat in 2004 by lambasting the Democratic incumbent for using his position "to slow down, to obstruct, to stop" then-President George W. Bush's agenda — opposed even beginning debate on the bipartisan infrastructure framework. "I can't say we will have every Republican, but he [Schumer] is not going to get 60," he vowed Monday.

On Wednesday, all of the 11 Republican backers who supported the bipartisan deal previously — along with the rest of the Republican minority — voted against debate on the matter.

Schumer voted "no" as well, for procedural reasons.

"At the end of the vote, I changed my response [from a yes] to a no so that I may move to reconsider this vote at a future time," the majority leader explained, moments after the vote failed, 49 to 51.

Due to Schumer's last-second maneuver, the Senate is still able to reconsider the vote in the future. Alternately, the Democratic majority could simply add the provisions to a budget reconciliation package and pass it with a simple majority, if they can remain united.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.