How Trump-aligned Republicans Came To Believe The Biparty Infrastructure Agreement Is ‘Wrong’

As the House of Representatives prepares to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal on Thursday, many House Republicans who opposed the deal argue that the bill is not about infrastructure at all.

“I have serious reservations that, depending on what numbers you think, only 10-20% of that $ 1.1 trillion is really going to infrastructure,” said Representative Buddy Carter (R., Ga.) At Yahoo Finance. the week.

The language echoes an argument from former President Donald Trump. It’s a “fake infrastructure deal” made up of “11% infrastructure and even it’s not real infrastructure,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business on Aug.31.

But by all accounts, the numbers of Trump and Carter, a Trump ally who voted to overthrow the 2016 election even after a pro-Trump mob attacked Capitol Hill, don’t match.

Nonetheless, it has been repeated often, especially by Trump-aligned House Republicans. Indiana Representative Jim Banks, Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said Friday that “House Republicans stand united against this bogus infrastructure bill.” Banks had been selected by House GOP chief Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) To be the top Republican on the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising, but was rejected by President Nancy Pelosi (D., California) for his actions. that day, including his vote to overturn the election after the violence.

What’s in the invoice

The 2,702-page infrastructure bill contains approximately $ 550 billion in new spending. It has been summed up by the White House and supported by multiple independent analyzes and is largely clear as to its main provisions.

  • About 20% of new funds are used to finance roads, bridges and other surface transportation programs ($ 110 billion)

  • Just under 20% is allocated to public transit and passenger and freight rail ($ 105 billion)

  • Just under 8% concerns seaports and airports ($ 42 billion)

  • About 12% is for improving broadband access ($ 65 billion)

  • Another 10% goes to improving the water supply system and replacing lead pipes ($ 55 billion)

  • 28% are devoted to a range of provisions related to energy, environment and climate change, ranging from upgrading the electricity grid to a new fleet of charging stations for electric vehicles, including cleaning of Superfund sites.

The bill passed in the Senate authorizes $ 550 billion in new spending. Some lawmakers like to call the bill $ 1.1 trillion or $ 1.2 trillion because it also includes highway funding and other projects allocated annually.

In the end, 19 Republican senators voted in favor of the package, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), As well as the 50 Democrats.

In her conversation with Yahoo Finance, Carter listed areas where “I think we would all agree” are infrastructure: roads, bridges, airports, seaports, broadband, broadband internet.

These provisions alone represent nearly 60% of the new spending in the bill.

Repeated requests to Rep. Carter asking how he arrived at his calculation yielded no response beyond “Mr. Carter is sad that only a small portion of the bill is for traditional types of infrastructure.” “

Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) Appeared with Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Left, and Mary Miller (R-Ill.) In June. (Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“Carter believes the issues should be debated, not thrown on a bill that should be about real infrastructure,” a spokesperson said, declining to further define the issue.

“I don’t see this as a vote for infrastructure”

Trump has also avoided explaining why he sees the current infrastructure bill as “bogus,” but he has supported infrastructure efforts throughout his tenure. In 2019, before the talks dissolved in acrimony, Trump agreed to spend $ 2 trillion on infrastructure – roads, bridges, airports, railways, waterways, and high-speed internet access. He again called for a plan for infrastructure spending of $ 2 trillion in 2020.

Then in a series of statements in August, Trump asserted “[t]there is very little infrastructure in all of these pages, ”but cited only a small provision to fund a national testing program that would allow the government to collect data from drivers to charge them a per-kilometer travel fee to back up his criticisms.

Trump also attacked McConnell for his yes: “If he can’t be killed in the Senate, maybe he dies in the House!” he said.

This month’s claims are tied to similar claims against President Biden’s early infrastructure plans. In March, Biden unveiled a $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure plan that was frowned upon as some said there was not enough infrastructure.

A criticism then, which was described by fact-checkers as pushed to “misleading extremes”, was that only 5% to 7% of the plan is for “real infrastructure”.

Since then, bipartisan negotiators have significantly scaled back the plan and scrapped provisions – like $ 400 billion to expand home care services, which many lawmakers had questioned.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: Parliamentary Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) arrives for a press conference at the United States Capitol on September 23, 2021 in Washington, DC.  As the deadline approaches to raise the federal debt ceiling, McCarthy has said he will lead his caucus against President Joe Biden's legislative agenda.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Minority Parliamentary Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) arrives for a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on September 23. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

At a recent press conference, McCarthy said he would encourage all his Republican colleagues in the House to oppose the bill, adding that he no longer viewed the bill as bipartisan “anymore.”

McCarthy did not call the infrastructure bill “bogus”, but felt that a vote for the bipartisan package is essentially a vote for the largest multibillion-dollar budget reconciliation package backed only by the government. democrats. “I don’t see this as a vote for infrastructure,” McCarthy said.

Over the weekend, Pelosi announced that the House would debate the infrastructure framework all week with a final vote – which is expected to be close – slated for September 30.

Ben Werschkul is a writer and producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.

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