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President Biden says he wants a bipartisan deal on his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, but his definition of “bipartisan” seems as bizarre as his one of “infrastructure.”
Just as his big “COVID relief” bill threw 91 percent of its cash at causes other than economic relief and virus-fighting, his “infrastructure” plan doesn’t focus on building bridges, roads or even power plants: It spends more on electric cars than on that stuff.
Indeed, two-thirds of the spending is for other “investments.” Its biggest single program, at $400 billion, is to pay home health aides (he calls that “health-care infrastructure”).
And “bipartisan” now translates to “Republicans voting for Democrats’ wish lists.”
Yes, the prez met with members of Congress from both parties on Monday, but it’s the same empty gesture as the meeting he hosted to hear GOP suggestions on the “relief” bill. Within 24 hours of that sitdown, he started moving forward with reconciliation, completely disregarding the GOP’s willingness to negotiate.
Now he could likely get a ton of GOP votes for a bill that truly focused on roads and so on — and financed it in the traditional “user pays” manner, rather than via economically ruinous tax hikes.
But the prez has already vowed to push as hard as he can to ram his bill through Congress. As Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm put it, his “sincere preference” is to reach a compromise with Republicans, but he well may use the reconciliation process to continue without any GOP votes
Meanwhile, Biden’s aides have been explaining that his definition of “bipartisanship” isn’t restricted to working with Republicans in Congress, as long it somehow “unifies the country.”
It’s pretty clear that Biden is stretching “unify” out of all recognition, too. It’s hard to say whether he’s moving faster at trashing the language or the country.
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