Infrastructure Bill Passes; $3.5 Trillion Budget Bill Becomes Focus of Senate

by mcardinal

Michael Cardinal, FISM News


The Senate passed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Tuesday, bringing closure to a bill that had been in discussion since April. The bill is being touted as a win for bipartisanship in a Senate that is otherwise deeply divided. The final bill was drafted by a bipartisan committee and passed the Senate by a vote of 69-30, with 19 Republicans voting alongside Democrats.

Many senators were quick to praise the bipartisan nature of the infrastructure bill, including President Biden who took to Twitter to celebrate its passing.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) noted, “When we have more people on both sides of the aisle who want to do things in a partisan way, as opposed to figuring out how we can work together, I don’t think that’s in the best interests of the country,”  In addition, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “When the Senate is run with an open hand rather than a closed fist senators can accomplish big things.”

With all the talk of bipartisanship, however, the Democrats immediately pivoted to their $3.5 trillion partisan budget reconciliation bill after the infrastructure bill passed. This piece of legislation holds the majority of the agenda items that Republicans had opposed in Biden’s originally proposed infrastructure bill and will garner no Republican support. The Senate voted along party lines, 50-49, to take up discussion on the new bill and it has now entered into a marathon vote-a-rama session by which legislators can bring up as many amendments to the bill as they would like for a vote.

According to Reuters, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted for the infrastructure bill, signaled that Republicans would try to use the voting sessions to pick off support from moderate Democrats for what he called a “radical” larger spending package that would create a permanent welfare state and usher in the largest peacetime tax hike in U.S. history.

The Democrats can ultimately pass the massive bill without any Republican support since it is seen as a budget bill. Under budget reconciliation it only needs a simple majority rather than meeting the typical 60 vote threshold. However, since it is a budget bill all items that it contains must either directly raise government revenue or add to its deficit. Because of this Republicans will assuredly try to nix some of the items from the bill, which includes social agenda items like climate change, sweeping educational reforms, increased universal health care provisions, and liberal immigration reform.

As previously reported,  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report over the weekend that revealed that the infrastructure bill alone would result in $256 billion in deficits over the next ten years. The added debt of the Democratic agenda bill will assuredly blow this number out of the water. Senator John Thune (R-S.Dak.) projects that, if passed, the “Free Everything Bill” will increase the national debt to $45 trillion.

Currently the national debt sits at over $28.5 trillion, which amounts to over $227,000 per taxpayer, with the amount continually rising. The budgetary crisis is compounded by the fact that the suspension of the debt ceiling has lapsed, currently leaving the US Treasury in a bind as to how to pay for our current debt, let alone additional spending.