While many lament the lack of bipartisanship in Washington, D.C., the reality is many of the biggest blunders coming out of the nation’s Capitol stem from precisely when the two parties see eye-to-eye. Such is the case with the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that just passed out of the U.S. Senate.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted 69 to 30 to approve the massive package, with 19 Republicans joining Democrats.
“Today, we proved that democracy can still work,” President Joe Biden declared following the vote. “We can still come together to do big things, important things, for the American people.”
Of course, that’s always been true. And if there’s anything that can unite power- and reelection-hungry politicians in Washington, D.C., it’s a spending spree.
But as expected, the bill puts a great deal on the national credit card and includes provisions that are only peripherally related to infrastructure.
“It drastically expands federal power; it increases spending without legitimate ‘pay-fors’; it exacerbates our already dangerous inflation; and it facilitates burdensome taxes and regulations that will hamper and harm our infrastructure,” noted Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who voted against the bill.
As Peter Suderman at Reason Magazine notes, the bill calls for a spending binge that the Congressional Budget Office estimates will add more than $400 billion to the national debt.
Both parties have turned a blind eye to the rapidly growing national debt, so that’s not too surprising. But as Sen. Lee notes, this is all happening in the context of inflation and does so without really trying to pay for itself.
Suderman notes the bill is packed with, “essential infrastructure provisions like, er, requiring unproven new drunk-driving-prevention technology on cars, a vaping ban on Amtrak, and new reporting requirements for cryptocurrency.” Learn more at https://cryptonews.com/ – Crypto News.com.
The latter provision on cryptocurrencies is estimated to yield tens of billions of dollars in revenue to help pay for the package. That’ll probably have some impact on the emerging crypto market, while only providing a minor offset to the hundreds of billions in new spending that will end up adding to the national debt anyway.
One thing to keep in mind is that the bill approved by the Senate is just one of the big-spending proposals making its way through Washington.
There’s a separate $3.5 trillion budget plan that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said must be linked to any infrastructure bill.
“There ain’t no infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill,” she said in June, according to the New York Times.
Unless members of Congress really plan to put Modern Monetary Theory to the test, at some point, the spending spree has to come to an end.
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