Biden Planning Infrastructure Week *For Real*
Republican "moderates" have offered a counter-proposal to President Joe Biden's $1.7 trillion infrastructure proposal, and it is eight bucks and a bag of dogshit.
Haha, your Wonkette is just kidding. Actually it is $8 bucks and a bag of dogshit PLUS $700 stolen from COVID relief funds. What a deal, huh?
Biden's opening offer was a $2.3 trillion package, Republicans raised their $568 billion opening gambit by a whopping $50 billion, which is a lot of money, but nowhere near what we need after 50 years of GOP starving the country.
Biden countered with $1.7 trillion, and Wednesday Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the top negotiator on a team of supposed centrists, delivered this spiffy new one-pager to the White House. You can tell this is a totally real, very serious offer by the spectacular graphics they used.
How dare you accuse Senators Capito, Barrasso, Blunt, Crapo, Toomey, and Wicker of throwing sand in the gears and dicking around to make Biden look like he's the one walking away from a bipartisan infrastructure deal! Just look at that traffic cone emoji — these are serious people here.
Spoiler Alert: They are not serious people.
In a transparent feint toward bipartisanship, this team of bullshitters have presented a $928 billion proposal to counter the president's $1.7 trillion counteroffer to modernize the nation's infrastructure. To pay for this deeply necessary public good, Democrats propose to roll back some of the Trump tax boondoggle that transferred money from government coffers right into the accounts of corporations and wealthy Americans, which is heresy in Republican quarters.
Meanwhile, Biden has paid exactly no political price with voters for going it alone and doing the COVID relief bill without Republican support. And infrastructure projects remain popular with voters, who clearly don't give a shit about deficit spending. So Republicans' task is to somehow convince the American public that they came to the table and tried to get those roads built, but mean Joe Biden wouldn't work with them. After which they will take credit for all the goodies their constituents get when Democrats use reconciliation to get around the inevitable GOP filibuster and actually legislate — third verse same as the first.
Hence this POS graphic. But wait, it's even dumber than it looks! Because the Republicans propose to finance all but $257 billion of this project by AHEM "repurposing unused COVID funds."
"There's a lot of Covid-specific money," Senator Blunt told Politico. "Better to use that money for something that we all want to do than have it sit around there for somebody else's pet project at some time in the future."
Now, don't faint, kids. But these Gippers might be just a wee tiny bit full of shit. Because, as Politifact noted in February when Republicans started making noises about $1 trillion in "unspent" COVID relief funds, that number is total fiction. And just because some amount of COVID relief money hasn't been spent yet doesn't mean recipients aren't counting on it.
As 14 Democratic state treasurers wrote to Congress in a letter urging it not to allow their COVID relief funds to be snatched up for infrastructure, "These investments are already getting shots in arms and protecting the jobs of teachers, firefighters, health care workers, and law enforcement. They will ensure not only recovery from the losses of the pandemic, but actually help reach pre-pandemic forecasts of economic growth."
Luckily, odds that Biden falls for this gambit fall somewhere between slim and none.
On Wednesday, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre answered a question about the proposal by noting that "there are simply not hundreds of billions of dollars in COVID-relief funds available to repurpose. As of the end of March, about 95 percent of the $3 trillion in pre-Rescue Plan COVID relief funding has either been obligated or is for PPP, unemployment insurance, or nutrition assistance, where the money is going out as planned to specific businesses and people."
And yesterday Jen Psaki released a statement thanking Capito for her service but noting that her fingerpaint proposal "provides no substantial new funds for critical job-creating needs, such as fixing our veterans' hospitals, building modern rail systems, repairing our transit systems, removing dangerous lead pipes, and powering America's leadership in a job-creating clean energy economy," while imposing "major cuts in COVID relief funds [which] could imperil pending aid to small businesses, restaurants and rural hospitals using this money to get back on their feet after the crush of the pandemic."
So, that's a big fat NO.
Meanwhile, Senators Manchin, Romney, Collins, and Portman are preparing another time waster, and congressional Dems have had it up to here with Republican footdragging when it's clear there's no deal to be had.
"I fully understand the president's instinctive desire for a bipartisan solution and that would be the best of all worlds but it takes two to tango," Senator Richard Blumenthal told Politico. "And so far they really refuse to come to the dance floor."
Biden plans to meet with Capito and her team of dipshits next week, but warns that "We're going to have to close this down soon."
Now all we have to do is give Senator Joe Manchin whatever he wants, and we're home free!
Follow Liz Dye on Twitter!
Click the widget to keep your Wonkette ad-free and feisty. And if you're ordering from Amazon, use this link, because reasons.
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.