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Will Politicians Compromise on Infrastructure?

Last updated on July 5, 2021

President Joe Biden tapes video addresses on Wednesday, June 2, 2021, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith)

Everything After the Separator is the Opinion of this Article’s Author

“We have a deal,” said President Biden after meeting with a bipartisan group of senators, last Thursday. 

The group of senators, including Mitt Romney and Mark Warner, recently have found common ground amongst infrastructure. The bill would have a span of 8 years and consist of 1.2 trillion dollars in roads, bridges, the power grid, public transport, and the internet. More specifically, 135 billion for roads, bridges, and airports, 15 billion for electric cars and buses, 65 billion for broadband, and more. 

Moreover, lawmakers have clearly stated that the package will be paid by unused Covid aid money and returned state jobless benefits. And not paid off by raising taxes on the middle class or reverse the cuts on business taxes. 

The bill is so far appraised by 21 senators, 11 Republicans, and 10 Democrats. Yet will need to be appraised by Democratic leaders to gain support for the 60 votes it needs. 

Nevertheless, many left-leaning senators have already made their statements clear that the package is simply too small.  Senator Richard Blumenthal expressed his opinion before Biden’s announcement saying it was “Paltry, pathetic.” He also emphasized, “It has to be combined with a second much more robust, adequate package, to be deserving of a vote, and I am very hopeful that it will be followed by another package.”

Hence, Biden also stated that he wants to enact a roughly 6 trillion-dollar bill that focuses on his party’s priorities, such as climate change, education, paid leave, and childcare benefits. The bill would also enforce tax increases on the wealthy and corporations. Furthermore, the bill would likely be passed by a budget reconciliation process that does not require any Republican senate votes. 

Multiple Democratic senators and Biden have made it clear that it would be both or none that get passed. 

“There ain’t going to be a bipartisan bill without a reconciliation bill,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

However, Biden issued earlier this weekend that his intent was not to create a veto threat. He then stated, “The bottom line is this: I gave my word to support the Infrastructure Plan, and that’s what I intend to do. I intend to pursue the passage of that plan, which Democrats and Republicans agreed to on Thursday, with vigor.”

The largest flaw with this bill is how vague it is on justifying its six trillion-dollar spending. Some ideas for this monster bill are raising the corporate tax from 21% to 28%. Other ideas include taxing the rich and taxing consumers more on gas. Unsurprisingly and somewhat justifiably, Republicans oppose these methods.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear on Thursday that the middle class was not to be meddled with when funding these trillion-dollar plans. She noted, “I don’t think the American people, America’s working families should be footing the bill for roads and bridges and the rest that America’s wealthiest people and businesses are using.”

While numerous politicians have partly agreed to a bipartisan bill, other large bills will unlikely find common ground between the parties in the foreseeable future.

Also, with it being a very inexpensive bill (compared to other future ideals) yet causing such controversy, it is unlikely that gun control and other more disputed topics will go anywhere in Congress. The simple answer is to find an agreement and improvise when a roadblock occurs. The disagreement about the bills being “too large,” “too small,” and more have made every decision filled with a dispute.

For example, COVID-19 has been a heated topic from the start. I believe the evident statistics and data from the world’s top scientists and doctors should have made our policies clear from the start. However, the greed of political gain from both sides of the aisle has made lawmakers play with their citizen’s lives. 

The resulting path to partisan methods is sharper division. The need for partisan acts such as the budget reconciliation act is not a good look for our country because it gives up on compromise and relies on political force. If budgetary reconciliation is relied upon, then it would appear the Democrats are throwing their hands in the air in annoyance and pessimism.

Meanwhile, partisanship does not seem to end on the federal level; state governments seem to also be divided. California has banned state-funded travel to states such as Florida and Montana over anti-LGBTQ laws. While improvisation is not a very realistic solution to these state issues, that does not exempt the need for a way to resolve these problems. This partisan squandering seems to be the new normal, but I honestly hope I am wrong.

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