Nineteen Republicans joined with all 50 Senate Democrats to pass a mammoth $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that conservatives bashed as spending far too little on traditional items like roads and bridges and too much on unrelated items.
“Senators voted 69-30 on the bill, which was spearheaded by a bipartisan group of senators led by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio),” The Hill reported Tuesday morning after the legislation passed.
That said, the legislation’s passage in the House is far from certain, as the Democrats’ far-left, vocal progressive faction is also pushing for a follow-on $3.5 trillion bill that contains many so-called “Green New Deal” climate and environmental provisions and other measures opposed by most Republicans.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has vowed she won’t take it up until the Senate passes the second part of its infrastructure two-step, a sweeping $3.5 trillion spending package that includes Democrats’ top priorities,” The Hill added.
Of the $1.2 trillion, about $550 million will come from new funding methods, generally taxes and use levies. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the legislation will add some $260 billion to the national debt, though the bill’s negotiators said that the agency wasn’t accounting for the fact that many of the projects would pay for themselves over time.
“The new spending under the bill is offset through a combination of new revenue and savings, some of which is reflected in the formal CBO score and some of which is reflected in other savings and additional revenue identified in estimates, as CBO is limited in what it can include in its formal score,” said Sinema and Portman in a joint statement on the CBO’s analysis.
Republicans who supported the measure previously, when it was advanced for debate and a final vote, are being ripped by conservatives for handing President Joe Biden and his party a win on legislation they refused to pass under former President Donald Trump.
“Nobody will ever understand why Mitch McConnell allowed this non-infrastructure bill to be passed. He has given up all of his leverage for the big whopper of a bill that will follow. …He is working so hard to give Biden a victory, now they’ll go for the big one, including the biggest tax increases in the history of our Country,” Trump said in a statement following the bill’s passage.
Here are the 19 Republican Senators who voted YES on the bipartisan infrastructure bill:
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) August 10, 2021
“Why weren’t GOP Senators attacking the ‘infrastructure’ bill and the foolish members going along with it since day 1 of negotiations? This bill has sucked since the beginning. But GOP members wait until AFTER it passes to attack it. Weak!” tweeted GOP consultant Alex Bruesewitz.
In April, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson lambasted the original $2 trillion plan as being laced with “social engineering” spending and very little on actual infrastructure — roads, bridges, highways, ports, waterways, and airports.
“Well, let’s be clear from the outset that this plan – whatever its merits – will not make your commute easier. Only about 5 percent of that $2 trillion will actually go to roads and bridges,” Carlson said. “So, 5 percent on infrastructure, 95 percent on social engineering. That’s what Joe Biden calls a once-in-a-lifetime infrastructure bill. He’s right about part of it: It is once in a lifetime. If this bill passes, the next generation will live in a very different country.”
On Friday, Carlson also called out the 17 Republicans who voted then with 49 Democrats to advance the bill for debate and passage.
“It’s 2,700 pages long. It would cost more than a trillion dollars. It will not pay for itself, despite what they told you,” he said. “And much of it has nothing whatsoever to do with infrastructure. Meaning fixing our crumbling roads and bridges and airports and train stations and all the rest that embarrasses America.”
“Instead, this bill will make science denial official, it will enshrine gender identity in federal law,” he added. “It will allow the government to track your driving. Why? So they can charge you a fee for every mile you go. This in addition to the gas tax.”
Other Republicans were called out individually, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
After he tweeted his support for the legislation, adding he wished it had been passed “years ago,” one user responded, “The problem with what you just passed it that it is loaded with pork that has nothing to do with infrastructure and only 21% is for actual infrastructure.”
“Why is Lindsey Graham pushing so hard behind the scenes for the Not really an Infrastructure Bill to pass?” another user added.
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