Earlier this summer, President Biden walked out of the White House touting the success of negotiating a “bipartisan” infrastructure deal amongst a handful of U.S. Senators. Mere hours later, Nancy Pelosi muzzled their celebration. Instead, Speaker Pelosi made clear that she viewed the infrastructure bill as nothing more than a political tool that she could use to pass a laundry list of liberal priorities to appease the progressive flank by spending trillions more of Americans’ tax dollars on a maze of new Washington programs and handouts. This forced President Biden to issue a threat to veto the bill that he had just celebrated hours earlier.
As we’ve seen Democrat leaders push to spend trillions play out, one thing has remained consistent: Washington Democrats don’t want to fund traditional infrastructure or help the working class. Rather, they prefer to use infrastructure spending – which has typically received bipartisan support – as a bargaining chip that can be used to force through an agenda the American people do not want. This week it all came to a crashing head.
Speaker Pelosi had guaranteed a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package on September 27. But when the day came, she couldn’t round up the votes. She delayed it and guaranteed a vote on September 30. But again, she couldn’t find the votes. As of my writing this, she still can’t find the votes – and it’s not hard to figure out why.
First, and most critically, she has made it clear that this bill is nothing more than a gateway drug for more spending. Based on the Pelosi’s own linkage between the infrastructure bill being debated right now, and trillions more to follow, no Republican should support this bill. Second, the infrastructure bill is not paid for. Not even close. The math simply does not add up. This bill includes $625 billion in new spending, but only manages to find $180 billion in offsets. In other words, the bill adds more than $400 billion to our deficit. As Republican Leader of the Budget Committee, my most important job is making sure we are fighting to get our fiscal house in order. Why? So that American families are protected from the runaway inflation happening right now, and the hidden tax increases to come tomorrow. No one can credibly claim this bill is fiscally responsible.
That’s why I oppose the bipartisan infrastructure package. When – or if – it comes to the House Floor, I will vote against it. This week, I spoke on the House Floor to urge my colleagues to vote “no”. If the infrastructure bill fails to pass, then the reconciliation bill will also die. That would be the best news possible for the working class. White House press secretary Jen Psaki and Nancy Pelosi have been claiming that this massive $4.3 trillion tax-and-spend bill would cost “zero dollars,” but the truth is it will cost the working class. They will be saddled with the worst economy, increased inflation, and increased taxes. Not to mention morn than $2 trillion in new debt the bill brings.
How do we know this bill would weaken the economy? President Biden’s own budget predicted it! His budget projects that passing these very policies would lead to the weakest average economic growth in our lifetime. That’s to say nothing of the inflation, which his own economists predict will hit the highest levels since the 1980s this year. Higher prices not only eliminate wage increases that workers might see, but they also can increase the direct tax burden on Americans while decreasing the benefit of investing in the long-term economic growth of the country. But these aren’t my words. Those were the exact findings of the Congressional Budget Office last month.
The simple reality is this: Speaker Pelosi turned a bipartisan negotiation became a hostage negotiation, and this week Speaker Pelosi shot the hostage.
Congressman Jason Smith (R-Salem) represents Missouri’s eighth congressional district. Send an email to RepSmithPress@mail.house.gov.