The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: joe biden

Classified Documents Found In Unprotected Area At Pence Home

Cue the rewrite squad: Republicans are scrambling for new talking points. CNN reports that an attorney for Mike Pence has located “about a dozen” classified documents at Pence’s home in Carmel, Indiana.

That’s pretty amazing, considering the confidence with which Pence answered this question.

From that same interview with Pence, in which he was feigning astonishment at the idea that Joe Biden might have left the White House with classified documents after his term as vice president, Pence said:

"There would be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area."

Where were the documents found inside former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home? In an unprotected area.

That interview wasn’t the only time Pence claimed he had no classified documents. He has made this claim repeatedly, especially as Republicans have attempted to use documents found in the home of President Biden to make demands—ranging from more investigations of Biden, to claiming this makes Biden ineligible to run again in 2024, to insisting that the Justice Department drop the investigations into documents Donald Trump refused to return, to insisting that Biden should resign.

Pence’s attorneys now state that a “small number” of classified documents were “inadvertently” boxed and transported to Pence’s home in Indiana. The statement also insists that Pence was unaware of the documents.

We can only assume that the next step is for Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel. After all, Garland appointed an investigator to look into the documents at Biden’s home on January 12. In fact, Garland went out of his way to appoint an investigator who had been appointed as a U.S. attorney by Donald Trump and was well known as a hard-line conservative to investigate the documents at Biden’s home.

Surely that means an attorney appointed by Biden or Obama will be appointed as a special counsel to look into the documents at Pence’s home. After all, Garland insisted that appointing such an investigator for Biden was necessary to show the independence of the Justice Department.

If Garland doesn’t appoint another such investigator now, it will be nothing short of a signal that the DOJ goes easy on Republicans. Scratch that. It will be another signal.

And when it comes to any comparison between what Joe Biden did and what Donald Trump is still doing

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

'I Have INFO On Everyone': Trump Hints Blackmail In Rant On Classified Documents

Former President Donald Trump lashed out for the second day in a row about the classified documents that were found inside President Joe Biden's Wilmington, Delaware home.

The latest revelation arrived over the weekend that five additional pages were discovered by Biden's personal lawyer and immediately handed over to United States Justice Department officials, according to NBC News. Special Counsel Robert Hur was appointed last week by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee the probe into how the materials, dating from Biden's tenure as vice president, ended up at his house and offices. So far, no formal allegations of wrongdoing have been directed toward Biden, who maintains that the boxes in which the papers were stored were packed by campaign aides.

Trump has claimed the same thing while admitting that he intentionally took super-sensitive texts from the White House and stored them at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, insisting that they were his. Mar-a-Lago was subjected to a Federal Bureau of Investigation search warrant in August because Trump failed to return all of the items that the Archives had requested, despite ongoing negotiations. Trump is facing a federal criminal investigation led by Special Counsel Jack Smith into the matter.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, Republicans in the House of Representatives requested access to Biden's visitor logs. On Monday, the White House Counsel's office informed Fox News that no such records were kept.

"Like every President in decades of modern history, his personal residence is personal," the White House Counsel's Office said in a statement. "But upon taking office, President Biden restored the norm and tradition of keeping White House visitors logs, including publishing them regularly, after the previous administration ended them."

Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi also explained to reporters that "we don’t independently maintain our own visitor logs because it’s a private residence."

Shortly after this development, Trump took to his Truth Social app to accuse Biden of sloppily stashing classified documents in his home and issue a thinly-veiled, albeit vague, threat of blackmail.

9:34 a.m.:

The White House just announced that there are no LOGS or information of any kind on visitors to the Wilmington house and flimsy, unlocked, and unsecured, but now very famous, garage. Maybe they are smarter than we think! This is one of seemingly many places where HIGHLY CLASSIFIED documents are stored (in a big pile on the damp floor). Mar-a-Lago is a highly secured facility, with Security Cameras all over the place, and watched over by staff & our great Secret Service. I have INFO on everyone

Reporting by The New York Times in December revealed that it was actually Trump who casually left classified documents strewn throughout Mar-a-Lago.

"Most of the classified documents in August were found in a storage area, which is accessible through two sets of arched doors, people familiar with the property told theTimes. The doors are near the pool area, a popular event space," the Times wrote. "Highly sensitive materials like the documents found at Mar-a-Lago are usually viewed inside a secure, enclosed area with a safe built to meet strict guidelines. Periodic inspection is also required. But the Justice Department had noted that Mar-a-Lago did not have a 'secure location authorized for the storage of classified information.'"

The Times recalled that "Trump has said that before leaving office he had declared the documents declassified, but so far, no credible evidence was found to support this," later adding that "just outside the arched doors leading to the storage area, there were many large-scale gatherings near the pool area and outdoor patio, during the time the documents were on the property."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

No Comparison: The Biden And Trump Classified Documents Cases

Stay tuned for more coverage of this and other political stories. Buying a subscription would certainly help out as I post more of these screeds.

I’m getting a creepy feeling this subject is going to be talked about all year and into the next, making it prime meat as a campaign issue against President Joe Biden if he decides to run for reelection. And there is more: Be forewarned that the fairness doctrine doesn’t apply in politics.

Today, the Republican-led House Oversight Committee wrote to the White House and asked for the visitor logs for Biden’s house in Wilmington, Delaware. "Without a list of individuals who have visited his residence, the American people will never know who had access to these highly sensitive documents," Rep. James Comer (R-KY) wrote to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.

Take a deep breath before you read the next sentence. No, the House Republican chairman of the Oversight Committee didn’t send an equivalent letter to former president Donald Trump, asking for visitor logs for Mar-a-Lago. Can you imagine? They would have to send a box truck for the Mar-a-Lago logs, with all the weddings and fund raisers and Christmas and New Years celebrations held there every year.

As the New York Times proved in an excellent interactive photo piece a couple of months ago, there were not one, but two entrances to the Mar-a-Lago ballroom that had direct access to the stairway above it, at the top of which was Trump’s office, from which many of the most sensitive classified documents were recovered by the FBI during their August search of the property. There would also have to be a list of the many, many employees of caterers and staff of Mar-a-Lago who had access not only to the ballroom, but to the storage room in the basement where the chairs for events in the ballroom were stored. As we know, Trump kept classified documents in the basement storage room where there was no lock until the Department of Justice demanded that one be installed in June of last year.

Asked on a CNN Sunday morning show why he hadn’t requested visitor logs from Trump for his club/hotel/residence, Mar-a-Lago, Comer replied, "I don't feel like we need to spend a whole lot of time because the Democrats have done that for the past six years.”

So, there you have it: This is the way what must now be referred to as the Trump/Biden classified documents cases will play out between now and November of 2024. Remember all the excuses the Trump people and Republicans made for the presence of hundreds of classified documents recovered by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago? Oh, the documents ended up there because of the chaotic packing-up of Trump’s White House in the final days before January 20, 2021. It’s just a simple disagreement with the National Archives. Trump wasn’t aware of what was down there in some musty storage room in Mar-a-Lago! That was handled by underlings.

And of course, they argued that everybody did it, meaning that every president accidentally took classified documents from the White House when they left office.

That one stings a little, given the recent drip-drip-drip of stories about classified documents turning up in Biden’s garage (locked, he pointed out the other day) stored alongside his vintage Corvette.

James Sauber, one of the White House counsels, announced last week that “a small number” of classified documents had been found among Biden’s papers at the Penn Biden Center think tank in Washington. Then more classified documents were found at Biden’s home in Delaware. On Saturday, the White House said that five more pages of classified documents were found at Biden’s Delaware residence. In each case, the documents were reported to the National Archives (NARA), which sent people to retrieve them.

I hardly have to remind you what happened in the case of the Trump documents, but here it goes: NARA began to seek documents it thought had been taken by Trump from the White House back in mid-2021. Trump stiff-armed them until the NARA officials informed his lawyers that the agency was turning the case over to the Department of Justice. Suddenly, in January of 2022, Trump turned over 13 boxes of documents to the NARA, which found classified documents among them.

The DOJ stayed involved and sent a subpoena for classified documents to Trump in May. Trump’s lawyers responded in June, turning over an envelope containing several classified documents to representatives of the DOJ at that time. They also had one of Trump’s lawyers – who worked for his Super PAC – sign a statement saying the documents were recovered during a diligent search of Mar-a-Lago. It didn’t amount to a sworn statement that they had turned over all the classified documents Trump had, but it was close.

The DOJ developed information, apparently from employees in Mar-a-Lago, that there were more documents stored there, and in August executed a search warrant. They recovered 13,000 more documents from the basement storage room. Among those and other documents from Trump’s office were 113 more classified documents. The DOJ started calling Trump employees before a Washington D.C. grand jury. It turned out that several of those employees had lawyers paid for by organizations run by Trump, such as his Super PAC. Several of the Trump employees took the Fifth Amendment during their grand jury testimony.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith, who was serving as a war crimes prosecutor at the Court of International Justice at the Hague, as special prosecutor. He took over the documents investigation and has issued new subpoenas for more testimony about the documents case, as well as the investigation of Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Now a second special prosecutor, Robert Hur, has been appointed to investigate the Biden classified documents. Biden’s lawyers have announced that they are fully cooperating with the investigation. In contrast, Trump filed suit in a Florida federal court last year to stop the use of the classified documents in the DOJ investigation, delaying the investigation for several months while the case wound its way not once, but twice, through the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Finally, the 11th Circuit threw out Trump’s lawsuit. The “special master” process that had been ordered to go through all 13,000 of the seized documents was ended and the documents – all of them, classified and unclassified – were returned to the DOJ for their investigation.

So, you get the picture: Trump took thousands of documents from the White House on purpose and fought tooth and nail for two years to keep them and to stymie both the NARA and the DOJ. Biden took a small number of classified documents with him when he left the vice presidency – we don’t know the number, but it’s more than ten – and immediately turned them over to the National Archives and is cooperating with the DOJ and the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the case.

You can depend on House Republicans to continue to make a big deal about the Biden classified documents while pooh-poohing what Trump did. What else is new? It’s who they are, and it’s who Trump is, but it’s going to be a pain in the collective ass of the Democratic Party. House Republicans are writing letters and making requests now, but they will follow up with subpoenas – the same kind of subpoenas that multiple Trump witnesses either avoided or completely refused to comply with – Hi, Steve Bannon! – and we’ll hear about every single one of them, no matter what they end up proving – Hi! Benghazi Committee!

I hate to say this but watch this space. We’re only halfway through January. It’s promising to be a very, very long year.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

'Too Many Secrets': Washington Post Urges Reform Of Classification System

The discovery and voluntary relinquishing of classified documents at properties connected to President Joe Biden ignited a firestorm among politicos given the story's concurrence with the ongoing saga surrounding former President Donald Trump's hoarding of top-secret texts at his Mar-a-Lago golf compound in Palm Beach, Florida.

The United States Department of Justice's appointment of special counsels to investigate each case – Jack Smith for Trump and Robert Hur for Biden – signals that Attorney General Merrick Garland seeks to remain impartial in pursuit of the truth.

And although the circumstances of the two scandals lack a fundamental equivalency – with Trump's being presumed as a criminal matter and Biden's being likened to Hillary Clinton's exonerated negligence – the stories have nevertheless triggered discussions over the federal government's policies regarding sensitive materials.

On Sunday, The Washington Post editorial board expanded on that topic, opining that "the classification system for managing secrets is overwhelmed and desperately needs repair."

The paper's editors had two main points. The first was that "too much national security information is classified, and too little declassified. For years, officials have stamped documents 'secret' in a lowest-common-denominator system that did not penalize over-classification and made declassification difficult and time-consuming. For example, in November, a 2004 interview of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney with the 9/11 Commission was released to the public. It should not have taken 18 years."

They cited a statement given in 2004 by then-Republican Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, who lamented the quantity of information that intelligence organizations deem unfit for public knowledge.

"There are too many secrets," Shays said. That formed the basis of the Post's second argument.

"Over-classification is counterproductive, making it harder for agencies to function, draining budgets and eroding public confidence. Agencies put their best people to work on the most urgent problems, and declassification is a low priority," the Board explained. "Now comes a 'tsunami,' as the Public Interest Declassification Board warned two years ago: an explosion of digital information. Yet management of classified materials 'largely follows established analog and paper-based models.'"

The editors then suggested a solution.

"A good start would be to simplify the classification process into two tiers, 'secret' and 'top secret,' eliminating the lower 'confidential' level, while protecting those secrets that need special handling," they said. Recall that "confidential" was the marking that plagued Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign.

The Post also alluded to a meeting held by "government experts" from the Hudson Institute in which they determined that “the growing volume of classified records already exceeds the ability of humans alone to process them.”

The editors concluded that the Hudson Institute's realization was a "wake-up call," adding that "the whole system needs to be fixed, and its dysfunction should not be ignored for another decade."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

After Promising To Defund Election Deniers, Corporate PACS Gave Them Millions

A new report by the nonprofit government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, found many of America's blue-chip corporations have collectively given tens of millions of dollars to congressional Republicans who voted against certifying President Joe Biden's 2020 election win, a group CREW dubbed the "Sedition Caucus."

At least 231 companies announced that they would either entirely suspend, temporarily halt, or meaningfully reassess their political giving in the days after a pro-Trump mob fueled by conspiracy theories about the 2020 election stormed the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021.

After Congress reconvened later that night, 147 Republicans — 139 in the House and 8 in the Senate — voted against certifying the 2020 election, in some cases citing claims of widespread voter fraud. Numerous national- and state-level recounts, election audits, and independent investigations have found no evidence that the outcome of the 2020 election was affected by fraud.

According to the CREW report, 166 of those companies have resumed donating to political campaigns and leadership PACs run by those election objectors. Several companies that condemned the attack are among that number, including Disney, Amazon, and Allstate.

In a statement, a Disney spokesman called the attack "an appalling siege" and criticized legislators who voted against certifying Biden's victory. Amazon said the insurrection was an "unacceptable attempt to undermine a legitimate democratic process," and a senior vice president at Allstate told CNN that the vote "did not align with the committee's commitment to bipartisanship, collaboration and compromise."

However, according to CREW's report, Amazon has since given $46,500 to election objectors, Disney $4,500, and Allstate $36,000.

An Amazon spokesman told the American Independent Foundation that the company's political action committee gives to Congress members who "share our views on issues that are important to our customers and our business in general." The spokesperson said the suspension of donations was not intended to be permanent.

The three companies are far from alone in doubling back on strong statements; Politico reported last week that Cigna, the multi-billion-dollar health insurance giant, gave more than $200,000 to election objectors ahead of the 2022 midterm elections after promising to cease contributing to "any elected official who encouraged or supported violence, or otherwise hindered the peaceful transition of power."

"Some issues are so foundational to our core fiber that they transcend all other matters of public policy," read a Cigna internal memo obtained by CNBC. "There is never any justification for violence or destruction of the kind we saw at the U.S. Capitol — the building that [is] such a powerful symbol of the very democracy that makes our nation strong."

Of the top five corporate donors to election objectors since Jan. 6, 2021 — Koch Industries, Boeing, Valero Energy, Home Depot, and AT&T — all but Koch Industries made some kind of promise to cease giving in the wake of the insurrection.

The report also notes corporate contributions to election deniers who won election to Congress in the 2022 midterms, including Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, a Republican who spread false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, and Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI), who the Daily Beast reported crossed police lines on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 during the insurrection.

Sixty-five of the companies CREW surveyed have remained committed to their public rejection of election objectors, including Meta, BlackRock, Target, and Nike. However, lobbyists working for some of the corporations that publicly pledged to refrain from supporting election objectors, including Microsoft, Meta, Nike, and Dow Chemical Company, have since made personal contributions to some of those lawmakers.

"None of the remaining members who fed lies about the election and voted not to certify have atoned for their actions," CREW research director Robert Maguire told the American Independent Foundation. "What is the point — other than good PR — of making a commitment to not give, if you're just going to start making donations to those same politicians in the same election cycle, only a little later than you normally would have?"

"You can't say you support voting rights or democracy while also making campaign contributions to members of Congress who in many cases tried to disenfranchise voters in entire states and attempted to overturn a free and fair election," Maguire added.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

As Gas Prices Fall, Republicans Are Lying About Joe Biden's Energy Policy

President Joe Biden "shut down American energy," Rep. Steve Scalise hollered with great confidence. The Louisiana Republican was nominating Kevin McCarthy for House speaker when he appended some commentary unburdened by facts.

Scalise painted a sad, sad picture of American families "who can't even afford to put gas in their tanks." They can't "make it to the grocery store because we have such horrible energy policy," he said.

The evidence fails to support the melodrama. "National gas prices drop to 18-month low," Forbes reported on Dec. 20, "and could hit $3 By Christmas."

In Louisiana, a gallon of regular now averages $2.90. This reality may be spied in the prices hanging outside Baton Rouge gas stations. And if we're not mistaken, Biden is still president.

Scalise went on to warn of threats to our energy security. "There's absolutely no reason that we need to rely on foreign countries to produce our energy," he stated.

Scalise is right about that. We don't need to rely on others to produce energy. But guess what, we don't.

"Exxon, Chevron Focus on Oil Projects in the Americas," read a Wall Street Journal headline that very day. The growth of U.S. shale has eased Western oil companies' concerns about securing oil, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Exxon is now spending big to raise oil and gas production by 500,000 barrels a day by 2027. It is selling assets in Africa and the Middle East and plans to expand in the Permian Basin of New Mexico and West Texas — and elsewhere in this hemisphere. The U.S. has just granted Chevron a new license to again pump oil in Venezuela.

Measuring energy independence by exports-minus-imports, 2021 saw our highest level of energy independence in history. Biden was president, then, as well.

Is Biden set on moving us to new low-carbon technologies? He is, and Exxon and Chevron say they are planning to expand in that direction, too. We can assume they know the energy business.

Natural gas prices in Europe have fallen below what they were before Russia invaded Ukraine. Fears that cutoffs of Russian energy would freeze much of Europe this winter have not materialized. Why? Because giant ships carrying U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) are sailing to Europe from ports in Louisiana and Texas.

"U.S. LNG has become a foundation for European energy security," said energy historian Daniel Yergin. Warmer weather helped reduce demand, for sure, but American natural gas more than met the demand.

The United States is now the world's biggest producer of natural gas. Cooling it to a liquid state makes it a lot easier to transport long distances.

LNG shipments to Europe more than doubled last year. As a result, gas storage facilities in Germany, once very dependent on Russian natural gas, are now near full. And lower energy prices helped France's inflation rate fall to 6.7 percent.

America's biggest LNG terminal is located near the Sabine Pass River, between Louisiana and Texas. There are others in Louisiana, with more on the way. U.S. exporters enjoyed record revenues in 2022, meanwhile, and expect more of the same this year.

If Scalise and his Republican colleagues limited their complaints to Biden's border policy, they might have had a point. But they kept beefing about rising gas prices that were actually falling — and higher food prices that were also going down. Not distinguishing yesterday's news from today's news is something we've gotten used to. We don't expect much in the way of updates tomorrow.

But Joe Biden is definitely president. And there is zero evidence of his "shutting down" American energy, at least for those of us stuck in the world of reality.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Under Biden, More Jobs Created Than Last Three GOP Presidents Combined

The latest jobs report shows that the unemployment rate has also reached a 50-year low.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday released its jobs report for December 2022, showing that 223,000 jobs were added to the economy, while the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.5 percent.

The new report shows that a total of 10.7 million jobs were added in the first two years of President Joe Biden’s term. By contrast, under the three Republican presidents who preceded Biden — Donald Trump, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush — U.S. job production was much slower.

At the conclusion of George H.W. Bush’s four-year presidency in 1993, 2.6 million jobs had been created. During George W. Bush's two terms, between 2001 and 2009, 1.3 million jobs were created; and 3 million jobs were lost during Trump’s single term.

Trump has the worst record on jobs since the Great Depression, and is the only modern president who left office with a negative jobs record. Under Trump, unemployment hit a record high of 14.7 percent in April 2020, and when Biden took office in January 2021, the unemployment rate was 6.3 percent.

Biden’s record is more in line with those of his Democratic predecessors, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, with 12.5 million and 22.7 million jobs added during their presidential terms, respectively.

The current unemployment rate of 3.5 percent is the lowest since 1969. The bureau's report also showed an increase in employment for workers with disabilities to a level higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment among Black and Hispanic workers also fell.

“Today’s report is great news for our economy and more evidence that my economic plan is working,” Biden said in a statement. “We still have work to do to bring down inflation, and help American families feeling the cost-of-living squeeze. But we are moving in the right direction.”

Biden noted additional actions by his administration designed to help the economy grow, including construction projects underway that are funded under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Biden also cited efforts to strengthen supply chains and expand domestic manufacturing with legislation like the CHIPS and Science Act.

“We have more work to do, and we may face setbacks along the way, but it is clear that my economic strategy of growing the economy from the bottom up and middle out is working,” Biden added.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

'Fix That Damn Bridge': Biden And McConnell Hail Bipartisan Rebuilding

President Joe Biden, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and other bipartisan leaders gathered Wednesday in Cincinnati to tout recently passed infrastructure that will allocate $1.6 billion to help pay to replace the aging Brent Spence Bridge. The move comes after Biden vowed to “fix that damn bridge” during a town hall in July 2021. Biden is now delivering on that promise.

Built in 1963, the Brent Spence Bridge which connects Cincinnati to Kentucky has been considered “functionally obsolete” for years. It has become a symbol of the nation’s declining infrastructure, with several presidents vowing to not only work on it but create better roads and bridges across the country.

While several issues have vied to gain bipartisan support, infrastructure bills and bridge projects bridge the political divide, with Congress approving the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

"I believe it sends a message, an important message, to the entire country," Biden said, referring to the law that made the bridge project possible, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. "We can work together. We can get things done. We can move the nation forward."

"After years of politics being so divisive, there are bright spots across the country," Biden added. "The Brent Spence Bridge is one of them."

According to The Enquirer, the $1.6 billion in federal grants will help repair the Brent Spence Bridge and build a new bridge adjacent to it.

“It connects Michigan and Florida,” former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said in 2021 of the bridge, according to NBC News. “It's one of the most-traveled highways in the country. And if we're gonna be competitive with China and other countries, we've got to have vibrant, working infrastructure.”

According to WLWT, the project is expected to begin by 2023, but additional details (outside of the project expecting to last until 2030) are unknown at this time.

“I am thrilled that the President is choosing to visit Ohio and Kentucky to highlight how our economy and infrastructure continues to grow stronger because of his work,” Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval said in a statement regarding the visit.

“The historic amount of money going towards this project is proof of what can be accomplished through strong regional, bipartisan collaboration. This is just the beginning.”

While several people also questioned whether Biden’s stop in Kentucky was about highlighting his relationship with Mitch McConnell, who was one of 19 Senate Republicans to support the infrastructure law, Biden and McConnell dismissed such claims.

“This is a bridge that has been a major national issue for 25 years, my top transportation project for decades. And it’s going to be fully funded by the infrastructure bill, which I supported," McConnell told reporters Tuesday according to the Associated Press. “It's important for me to be there.”

The Brent Spence Bridge isn’t the only one Biden’s administration is planning to work on. According to the Federal Highway Administration, $400 million of the $1 trillion federal infrastructure package approved in 2021 has been allocated to the Golden Gate Bridge, in order to complete the third and final phase of the seismic upgrades that will allow it to withstand earthquakes.

"This project is as important as any transportation infrastructure project you can find in America," said Rep. Jared Huffman of San Rafael.

"Can you imagine the calamity and the damage if a major earthquake hit and the Golden Gate Bridge was seriously damaged or destroyed?" he continued. "That's the scenario you have to think about and plan for."

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.