Considering the amount of excitement last night’s announcement appeared to generate in Democratic circles, it sounded as if the “other half” of the “infrastructure” bill was being revealed. Coming in with a price tag of $3.5 trillion, the new proposal is to contain the lengthy list of Democratic wishlist items that didn’t make the cut in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was previously agreed on. And to hear Chuck Schumer describe it, it would be a “profound change” in how the government makes life better for Americans. Of course, nothing on the list actually has anything to do with infrastructure, so they might as well just call it a way to spend massive amounts of additional money that we don’t have. You’re going to have trouble examining the details of the bill, however, for reasons that we’ll get to in a moment. (NBC News)
Senate Democratic leaders announced an agreement Tuesday evening to advance a $3.5 trillion spending plan to finance a major expansion of the economic safety net.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the $3.5 trillion will be in addition to the $579 billion in new spending under the bipartisan infrastructure agreement.
He said the deal will include a “robust expansion of Medicare” that includes new benefits like dental, vision and hearing, along with major funding for clean energy. “If we pass this, this is the most profound change to help American families in generations,” he said.
Mark Warner declared that this bill “will be fully paid for.” That’s certainly an interesting claim. Schumer and Bernie Sanders are promising that there will be no new taxes on anyone making less than $400K per year and none on small businesses, either. So the entire $3.5 trillion bill will be footed by corporations and “the wealthy” who will be paying “their fair share.” (How many times have we heard that one before?)
The Democrats hope to get this bill passed before the current legislative session ends on July 31. With that in mind, I figured it would be a good idea to go search through the bill and report on some of the specifics. Unfortunately, that proved to be impossible. Why? Because, as the linked article points out, “the legislation has yet to be written.”
Are you kidding me? They’re talking about a massive spending package that will flush vast sums of money to their friends who invest in green energy companies, along with a gargantuan expansion of Medicare and God-only-knows what else. And they haven’t even started writing the bill yet. But they’re going to slam it together and get it passed via reconciliation in a little more than two weeks? It would have to be passed that way because there’s no way this beast will attract any Republican votes. And until we see all of the details, they can’t even be sure that they’ll get all of the Democrats to go along with it.
They won’t need to write the bill from scratch, obviously. Nearly everything being suggested has come up before and been drafted in other spending bills that failed to pass. They can take the language from some of their greatest hits collections and cobble them together into one giant package, no doubt slipping in a few poison pills to go along with the big-ticket items. And why not? Nobody is going to have time to read the whole thing anyway.
In other words, the Democrats will need to once again abuse the reconciliation process without the Senate Parliamentarian shooting them down and keep all of their members together. And if that somehow happens, we’ll end up setting another massive pile of imaginary money on fire via a piece of legislation that nobody will have read and without an ounce of bipartisan support. This is no way to run an airline, folks.