A gang of 13 House Republicans committed an incredibly despicable deed just before midnight on Friday. Instead of dealing a serious blow to President Biden's floundering program, they rescued him by giving Speaker Nancy Pelosi the votes she needed to overcome opposition from her party's far left.
Biden's multibillion-dollar domestic plan has been dogged by issues for months. Democrats are contending with divisions between the party's most liberal and conservative wings, and thin majorities have left leadership with little room for error.
Their goal has been to pass trillions of dollars in new expenditure at a time when debt as a percentage of GDP is at record highs only surpassed by the war effort during WWII. Democrats' aim had been to persuade some Republicans to join their cause by pretending that their agenda was divided into two parts: a physical infrastructure measure and a broad social-welfare bill.
Democrats have been fighting amongst themselves for months, with some members supporting the infrastructure package and others supporting the social-welfare plan. However, it has become increasingly evident that the two bills are intimately intertwined and will rise and fall together.
Senate Republicans got the ball rolling when 18 of them decided support the unnecessary infrastructure bill, with its $550 billion in new spending, and send it to the House for final passage.
After months of back-and-forth, it appeared that Biden's agenda might suffer another setback on Friday night, as not all progressives were sold on the idea of passing the infrastructure bill in exchange for holdouts in the House promising to vote for the social spending bill once the CBO analysis was released. Pelosi lost six Democrats in her own caucus with only three "no" votes to spare, enough to kill the bill. Despite this, 13 Republicans flew in to save Pelosi, handing Biden his largest victory of his presidency and putting the rest of his rash agenda on a collision course with the House.
This is a substantively bad decision that is political malpractice. It represents a betrayal.
The federal government already spends more than enough on infrastructure to meet our needs and the COVID-19 bailout money left many states awash in cash. Despite promises, only a small portion of the bill focuses on traditional infrastructure such as fixing roads and bridges and the legislation (soon to be law) will add $256 billion to deficits. It will also help grease the wheels for the passage of the larger multi-trillion welfare bill that will expand Medicare and Obamacare, initiate a federal takeover of preschool and child care, and impose economically devastating tax increases on individuals and businesses.
In terms of politics, it's difficult to tell what Republicans are thinking. Biden came into this week still hurting from a crushing rebuke of his presidency from voters in traditionally Democratic areas of the country. He entered the 2022 election season as a wounded animal, and Republicans were poised to make significant gains. They've now thrown him a life raft, allowing him to put a bipartisan spin on his extremist program.
Every Republican who voted for this monstrosity who is not already retiring should be primaried and defeated by candidates who will actually resist the Left-wing agenda. Those who are retiring should be shamed for the rest of their lives. It also is not too soon to be asking whether Representative Kevin McCarthy should be ousted from leadership for his inability to keep his caucus together on such a crucial vote.
Here are the names of the 13 Republicans who voted with Pelosi and Biden:
Representative Brian Fitzpatrick
Representative Don Bacon
Representative Don Young
Representative Fred Upton
Representative Adam Kinzinger
Representative Jeff Van Drew
Representative John Katko
Representative Tom Reed
Representative Andrew Garbarino
Representative Nicole Malliotakis
Representative Chris Smith
Representative David McKinley
Representative Anthony Gonzalez