President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats are doggedly trying to pass nearly $5 trillion in a pair of tax-and-spend bills that they have purposely linked together — a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate and a Democrat-only $3.5 trillion “budget reconciliation” bill that is simply a progressive agenda wishlist of social spending and tax hikes.
House Republican leadership instructed its members this past week to vote against both bills, but according to the Washington Examiner, there are a handful of House GOP lawmakers who have openly expressed their intent to disobey leadership and vote in support of the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill.
This, despite it being abundantly clear that both pieces of legislation are linked together and that doing so, while perhaps beneficial to their own bids for re-election, is decidedly bad for the nation and the American people.
Bucking party leadership
The Examiner reported Friday that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which supports the massive spending plans, put together a list of nearly 60 House Republicans that it intended to openly target and pressure into voting for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.
— Katherine Doyle (@katiadoyl) September 23, 2021
According to the Examiner, several of the GOP members named on that list have made it clear that they will not vote in support of it, but a few others have been cagey about their intentions or remain undecided, while still a few others have gone ahead and admitted that they will vote alongside Democrats.
One of those members who was firm in his support of the bipartisan bill, Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), estimated that he would be joined in voting “Yes” by 10-20 of his Republican colleagues.
But that flies in the face of what the Washington Examiner had reported separately just two days earlier regarding how House Republican leadership — including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) — had decided to oppose the entire linked package and were urging all Republican members to do the same.
The reason for that opposition was made crystal clear in that Democratic leadership, under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have openly acknowledged their nefarious intention to link both of the spending bills together in order to ensure that their agenda item-packed $3.5 trillion boondoggle gets passed.
Let ’em fight
What is arguably most ironic — and perhaps a bit infuriating — is that the potential GOP defections on the infrastructure bill may not even matter or be necessary due to fierce internal fighting between moderate and progressive Democrats on the combined spending packages that could sink the bills.
Some centrist and moderate Democrats have balked at supporting the massive social program expenditures and tax hikes in the reconciliation bill, while progressives have vowed to withhold their support of the smaller bipartisan infrastructure bill unless all of their progressive demands in the larger package are first met.
In other words, while House Republican leaders have appropriately adopted a “let them fight” outlook with regard to the internal Democratic squabbles over the dual bills, some House Republican members are seriously contemplating crossing the aisle and bailing out Democratic leadership and President Biden to pass a bill that they’ll never get any credit for, assuming their districts even gain any benefits from any of it.