As the Biden administration works to ensure the passage of the president’s $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan, the political opposition of Republicans will play a big factor in how smoothly the process of passing the bill without significant alterations will be.
In order to make sure that the GOP suffers as much as possible for their efforts to stymie Biden’s signature legislative package, the Biden administration is reportedly developing detailed projections of just how much the bill will contribute to each state’s economy.
Shrewdly, the administration is beginning their projections with the two states that the Republicans’ top congressional leaders represent: Kentucky, the home state of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and California, home to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
The strategy is designed to put Republicans on the defensive for opposing a proposal that is proving to be wildly popular among both Democratic and Republican constituencies alike, framing their projections for each state as the “cost of inaction” if the bill isn’t approved by Congress.
“12% of Kentuckians live in areas where, by one definition, there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds,” a White House fact sheet declares. “The American Jobs Plan will invest $100 billion to bring universal, reliable, high-speed and affordable coverage to every family in America.”
“In California, there are 1,536 bridges and over 14,220 miles of highway in poor condition,” another fact sheet says. “The American Jobs Plan will devote more than $600 billion to transform our nations’ transportation infrastructure.”
With Congress returning from Spring recess today, Democrats are aiming to pass the infrastructure bill, dubbed The American Jobs Plan, by Memorial Day, or at least make some significant progress towards its passage.
According to Axios, both President Biden and Vice President Harris, as well as members of the cabinet are expected to embark on a media tour around the country to sell the plan to the American people.
In addition, the Democratic National Committee will use the fact sheets like the ones quoted above to coordinate with state Democratic parties to promote the plan, a DNC spokesperson said.
Republicans have already begun attacking the legislation as too costly, despite having no such qualms when they passed their billionaire tax cut bill early in the Trump administration which reduced government revenue by nearly $1.7 billion without providing any tangible benefits outside of making the ultra-wealthy even richer.
“I’m going to fight them every step of the way because I think this is the wrong prescription for America,” Senate Minority Leader McConnell said of the infrastructure plan at a news conference in Kentucky.
For his part, House Minority Leader McCarthy issued a memo about the bill that criticized the president for not spending enough on physical infrastructures like bridges and highways. “The rest,’ he said, “is a ‘kitchen sink’ of wasteful progressive demands.”
The Senate Republican Conference also issued a memo attacking The American Jobs Plan as wasteful and packed with programs that — in their narrow view of what constitutes “infrastructure” — shouldn’t be included as part of the package.
“Described as both a ‘jobs’ plan and an ‘infrastructure’ plan, the proposal undermines both,” the memo states. “‘Biden’s Partisan, Job-Crushing Slush Fund’ spends just 5% of the total $2.7 trillion on roads and bridges.”
The GOP will need to come up with a catchier epithet for The American Jobs Plan than “Biden’s Partisan, Job-Crushing Slush Fund” if they expect to convince the American people that the nation doesn’t separately need the investment in the future that Biden’s bill envisions.
With so many Americans finally seeing some positive proposals to improve our nation after the persistent negativity of the Trump era, Republicans risk alienating a significant portion of the electorate with their fear-mongering and sudden retreat back into becoming deficit hawks after spending like drunken sailors while they controlled the levers of power.
Hopefully, it will be the last obstructive move before the Republican party collapses out of irrelevancy and its own inability to effectively govern our increasingly complex and diverse nation.
Original reporting by Sarah Mucha and Jonathan Swan at Axios.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.