Democratic lawmakers are pushing the Biden administration to use deficit spending to pay for major aspects of his agenda.
President Joe Biden released his American Families Plan on Wednesday, one-half of a spending initiative to build U.S. infrastructure and create a host of new government social services and programs. The package totals $1.8 trillion in new spending. The other half of the spending initiative, the American Jobs Plan, is projected to cost another $2.7 trillion.
Progressive Democrats in Congress claim that the American Families Plan is too important to risk failing, dismissing concerns that Congress is not able to locate enough funds to pay for it. A group of senators is pushing to enact the American Families Plan through deficit spending that would further balloon the national debt.
“I’m not a big pay-for guy,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) told Axios. “I think some investments are worth deficit financing.”
“Nobody asks how we’re going to pay for the United States military,” Schatz said. “Nobody really asked how we were going to finance the tax cuts for the very wealthy. It’s only when it comes to progressive priorities that everybody freaks out and tries to find pay-fors.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said: “I think there’s plenty of money in this country to pay for smart investments. But at the same time, if it’s a good investment, I don’t know that it needs to be fully paid for.”
“My view is I think we need to pay for part of it on the infrastructure angle … but not totally,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who sits on the Senate appropriations committee, agreed. “I think we should find a way to pay for half of it upfront and then hopefully with good infrastructure, it’ll create economic growth and pick up the other half.”
Moderate Democrats such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) have balked at the new spending bills, raising concerns among Democratic Party leadership that Democrats in Congress will not get a chance at even passing the massive spending bills through reconciliation, the only way Democrats could enact the bills without bipartisan support. Democrats hold the Senate in a 50-50 split with Republicans, so one Democrat defector would tank the bills’ chances of passing.
Manchin is reportedly discussing a possible “scaled-down” version of Biden’s American Jobs Plan that could get GOP support for more spending on U.S. infrastructure. As The Daily Wire reported:
On Sunday, Manchin told CNN that he is “not a roadblock at all” to Biden’s efforts, but that he would like a “more targeted” bill, focused on funding traditional, physical infrastructure improvements, with a second, separate $400 billion bill funding things like a Medicare expansion.
“I do think they should be separated,” Manchin told the network. “Because when you start putting so much into one bill, which we call an omnibus, it makes it very, very difficult for the public to understand.”
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