The Senate voted to adopt a massive infrastructure bill earlier this week by a vote of 69-30. That was nine more votes than needed given the Senate’s arcane and archaic rules.
The bill, HR 3684, has the unassuming title:
“To authorize funds for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes”The biggest deal was 19 Republicans joined all the Democrats in voting for the bill which President Joe Biden will most certainly take credit for once it gets through the House in the next few weeks.
The second biggest deal was the price tag for those “other purposes:” North of $1 TRILLION.
It will, according to the Congressional Budget Office, add about $256 billion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years. Give the amount of federal spending, $25.6 billion per year is more than a rounding error, but not by much.
The current national debt is about $28 TRILLION dollars.
Adding $25.6 billion will increase the debt by under one percent per year.
According to ABC News, the bill includes:
“$110 billion in new funds for roads and bridges, $66 billion for rail, $7.5 billion to build out electric vehicle charging stations, $17 billion for ports, $25 billion for airports, $55 billion for clean drinking water, and a $65 billion investment in high-speed internet” among other projects.
As an adherent of dynamic scoring, I have to believe that the number of people who will be put to work actually building all the projects, plus the indirect employment of the workers who build the bulldozers to dig, fabricate the steel for the bridges, forge the iron pipe for water lines, and so on will serve to significantly reduce that deficit.
The money that President Biden wanted for “human infrastructure” was crammed into his next victory, a $3.5 TRILLION budget bill which, again under the rules, is not subject to filibuster and thus could (and did) pass without GOP support.
This is part of what is called “reconciliation” which is one of those things I understand perfectly while someone is explaining it to me, then immediately forget as soon as I move on to something else.
With Biden on a rare August roll, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may call her troops back from their break to begin work on these bills and get them to the President’s desk later this Fall.
The good news is foreign junkets are rare in the age of COVID, so the Air Force won’t be tasked with racing off to places like Paris and the Amalfi Coast to retrieve the Members on their fact finding tours.
Keep in mind, the Trump administration tried and failed to get an infrastructure bill passed so many times that “Infrastructure Week” became a standing joke, so the Senate vote this week was no small achievement.
Among the Republican Senators who did not vote for the bill were Texans Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. I have always liked Cornyn. I have always thought Cruz was (and is) a self-serving clown from kissing up to Trump to hightailing it down to Cancun during the height of the pandemic last year.
If I had my way when the details are worked out on which specific projects get funded and for how much, Texas would get – as Lone Star Cowboys like to say – bupkis.
No money for water. No money for high-speed internet. No money for roads. Not even a farthing to help rebuild Texas’ embarrassing electrical grid that stunningly failed not so long ago.
Make 19 of your GOP colleagues walk the plank to get the huge spending bill passed while you were hiding in the cloakroom drinking coffee? No vote. No money.
The political ads write themselves.
The budget bill will likely have more effect on how Americans live their lives than the infrastructure bill,
As Roll Call newspaper reported:
“Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said once adopted it will ‘allow the Senate to move forward on a reconciliation bill that will be the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since [Franklin Delano Roosevelt] and the New Deal of the 1930s.’” That’s the “human” infrastructure the Administration is talking about.
See you next week. – MULLINGS READ MORE