WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of lawmakers announced plans to move forward on a costly infrastructure package Thursday. Just two hours after reaching an agreement, Biden insisted that the plan be paired with a massive budget reconciliation bill chock-full of the left’s radical policies and spending. While the bipartisan package pares down Biden’s initial $2 trillion proposal, the price tag is far higher than the $559 billion figure being reported. Heritage Policy Analyst David Ditch explains the pork stuffed in the $1.2 trillion package and what it would mean for American taxpayers:
“The American people want good roads and bridges, but President Biden’s deal isn’t about infrastructure—it’s about far-left priorities. The so-called compromise between Biden and a bipartisan group of lawmakers revealed the left will stop at nothing to enact their socialist agenda and big-spending priorities. A mere two hours after announcing the deal, Biden himself promised to veto it unless a second, much larger budget reconciliation bill made its way to his desk at the White House.
“Conservatives will not fall for this bait-and-switch tactic. We have known from Biden’s first infrastructure proposal that the left has little desire to fix our roads and bridges. Spending on those improvements amounted to about 4% of the original plan. It’s now clear that the left views ‘infrastructure’ as an opportunity to enact policies that serve their own interests, not those of the American public.
“Even the compromise deal shows the misplaced priorities of Washington. The agreement is a bad deal for Americans and further advances the left’s goal of expanding federal power over states and local communities. It spends more on rail and transit than highways, despite rail and transit combining for less than 10% of U.S. travel. The agreement allocates $118 billion for infrastructure that is better left to private, more effective spending, such as broadband and power and $55 billion for water infrastructure, typically a local responsibility.
“The proposal is ‘paid for’ by using Washington accounting games—that is to say, it’s not actually paid for at all. The ‘pay-fors’ for the enormous bill includes fake savings from rescinding funds that won’t be spent, as well as funds that don’t cover federal spending increases in any meaningful way, like private activity, municipal bonds, and dynamic scoring. The plan relies on policies that have nothing to do with infrastructure, like reducing unemployment insurance fraud, to pay for itself when those policies should be used to close our annual deficits. There are other gimmicks included that are not likely to pan out, like a tax gap. This would likely place the burden of more uncontrolled spending on the backs of young Americans.
“Make no mistake, this is not a compromise. President Biden has said he won’t sign it unless he gets 100% of the left’s spending plans on his desk. Democratic leadership has already announced that they won’t pass this plan until they pass more of their own radical, socialist, climate-obsessed legislative priorities and spending through reconciliation.
“An infrastructure agreement shouldn’t enable trillions in new welfare and entitlement spending that we have no way of paying for. A deal in the interest of American taxpayers—one that charts a path toward fiscal sanity and responsibility—should take precedence over partisan agenda items.”
To read more on the issue, find Ditch’s report on foundational dos and don’ts of infrastructure here.