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An Echo Not a Choice: Senate Republicans Embrace Democrat Spending Binge

AMAC Exclusive By: David P. Deavel


Barry Goldwater famously offered a “choice, not an echo” in his 1964 presidential run. Senate Republicans seem to now be offering the echo. This week the Senate passed President Biden’s infamous $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill on a 60-30 vote. Though the bill does include funding for actual infrastructure, such as roads (a measly 10% of the bill), airport runways, and other actual pieces of necessary infrastructure, there is also plenty of spending on Democratic hobbyhorses such as passenger rail and electric charging stations for cars and racial set-asides in grants and onerous regulations. It also tasks the Department of Transportation with setting up a pilot program to charge drivers on a per-mile basis in order to build up the Highway Trust Fund. Overall, the bill is yet another example of spending of money that is not there. While this might not be unexpected from a Congress controlled by Democrats, what may be surprising is that 17 Republican Senators voted to keep the bill in play and 19 Republican Senators voted for it in the end.

The Congressional Budget Office calculates that the bill will add $256 billion to deficits over the next decade. Even that estimate may be conservative; a Wharton School of Business analysis released before passage of the bill estimated that the true addition to the deficits would be $351 billion—and that the bill would not have any effect on jobs, wages, or economic growth in general through at least 2050. Why would supposed fiscal conservatives sign on to such a bill? And why, given the current situation of inflation and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s prediction that it will continue for months, is there no worry that such spending bills will cause inflation to rise further for a number of reasons, not least, as Stephen Miran argued in the Wall Street Journal, because of all of the regulatory measures in this 2,702 page bill?

How about on the question of getting back to equality and not the current tribal-based notion of equity? When it comes to contracts for actual infrastructure, the bill designates that minority-owned businesses will have first priority. As Betsey McCaughey observes of the bill’s attempt to increase connectivity, “the infrastructure bill tilts the grant scale in favor of states with high minority and non-English-speaking populations, instead of considering only economic need and existing broadband capacity. Because Maine and West Virginia are 94 percent white, they’ll get less.”

I think the old term for this kind of division along race lines is “separate but equal,” where you have to read the “equal” with an “un-” in front of it.

The worst part, however, is the proposal for the pilot program to implement a “mileage tax.” Think you’re saving money by driving electric cars? Don’t worry, you’ll be “paying your fair share” soon enough. Will Americans driving gas-powered vehicles now have the dubious privilege of being taxed on their gasoline and their mileage? Looks like that’s the plan.

What were the Republicans thinking?

Perhaps it’s what George W. Bush called “strategery”? The House has not passed their version of the bill yet, and Nancy Pelosi is claiming she cannot pass it until a further $3.5 trillion dollar “human infrastructure” package is passed. The latter is a boondoggle of liberal programs that stands as the epitome of “an agenda that is mighty big, but falls conspicuously short of being mighty smart,” as William Voegeli put it in an essay titled “3.5 Trillion Ways to Lose Your Country.”

So is the gamble here that Nancy will not be able to “git ‘er done” on the bigger boondoggle that Republicans do oppose and that thus the infrastructure bill will fall by the wayside? Could Republicans then both take credit for voting for it (who wants to be against “infrastructure”?) and never feel the consequences? Or is it to force the Democrats to stick to what the agreement was by threatening to refuse to raise the debt ceiling? If the Democrats can push Republicans to support $1.2 trillion of bad spending, who is to say they won’t pressure them all the way? It’s a dangerous gamble since the Democratic plan for the $3.5 trillion is to link it to the infrastructure bill and pass the whole gargantuan mess in reconciliation, which would require only simple majorities to pass. In aiding and abetting this bill, Republicans may find that the tab is not simply $1.2 trillion but $4.7 trillion. Many people might make the joke about “a trillion here and a trillion there,” but it’s safe to say we have been talking about real money all along. The question is just how much.

It is no surprise that South Carolina Republicans in Aiken County publicly censured Senator Lindsey Graham for his support of the bill this week. They stated: “This bill fails to address border security, sets no limits to the fiscal impact of ‘Green infrastructure,’ and dramatically degrades the rights of existing American businesses. He willfully neglected to act within the fiscal conservative agenda we elected him to diligently uphold.” That note of border security is yet another aspect of this mess, for there is nothing in this bill about it and, as Terrence Jeffrey reported at The Daily Signal, the Biden Administration is cutting what little border security infrastructure we had.

However these bills end up, the decision for Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and 17 others to go along with this bill is one that will likely have an effect on their reelection chances and on the electoral success of the Republican Party as a whole. Collaborating in the further raising of inflation, further attempts to stop Americans from driving, providing grants that are distributed along racial lines, and ballooning our deficits further—all while doing nothing about border security when even the Democratic mayor of McAllen, Texas, says that the border is “wide open” to illegal immigrants—is a massive impediment to Republicans who would like to take control of the Senate again. This bill touches on all the major issues that the American people face: out of control spending, racial picking of winners, environmental nonsense, and unfair taxation. And it takes the wrong side of all of them.

A few years ago when Brett Kavanaugh was being attacked, some of these Senators found their mojo. Lindsey 2.0 was fantastic. For Republicans, Independents, and even some Democrats waking up to the disaster, it would be nice if they had a choice instead of Lindsey 3.0, who is mostly an echo.

David P. Deavel is editor of Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, co-director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy, and a visiting professor at the University of St. Thomas (MN). He is the co-host of the Deep Down Things podcast.

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Steven H
1 year ago

Too many interested in power and lining their pockets. There are few pubic servants left in politics.

1 year ago

Can’t trust the Republicans. It’s a shame that they’re the only viable alternative to the Democrats.

Last edited 1 year ago by Phillip
1 year ago


1 year ago

Republicans haven’t been thinking since Newt left congress. They, too, are paid by Soros and China. So why not vote with their Commie pals, the demonRats?
And voter FOOLS will just not stop voting for these Traitors.

1 year ago

It’s time we refuse this disgusting group of leeches and their insatiable desire to spend someone else’s money. I hope they all choke on their Ill gotten gains and people wake up. We should boycott the schools and refused to pay for their misdeeds in every area of government.

1 year ago
Reply to  Joel

Not so much a desire as an insatiable desire to spend someone else’s money … it is to garner the kickbacks (monetary and political) from the people and organizations that spend it!!!!!

1 year ago
Reply to  Hal

Exactly! Bribery and extortion are rampant on Capitol Hill.

1 year ago

Print a list of the RINOs that voted for this. Primary them.

Clark Morin
1 year ago

Graham McConnel and anyone over the age of 65, get rid of the elitest and career politicians

1 year ago
Reply to  Clark Morin

I concur except raise it to age 70 …. need some representation to provide some attention to Social Security issues.

Myrna S Wade
1 year ago

This article makes it clear that the republicans who caved in to vote for the infrastructure bill are doing so because they see goodies for their states. I have seen so many versions of what has been sent to the House. What I want to know is did they also send the other larger bill to the House?????

Linda Nelson
1 year ago

How I wish our “elected representatives” would actually work for the people they are supposed to represent!!! What CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN would vote for this monstrosity of a bill???!!

Philip Hammersley
1 year ago

Our Founders, who were a lot smarter and patriotic than most of our current “leaders,” served only for a few years, then returned to their REAL JOBS. That’s why they knew what the average person thought and needed.
Most of this bunch want to stay on the government teat for as long as possible!

Michael Gallichio
1 year ago

Now that we know our “republicans” in DC are nothing more than socialist sellouts, it’s time to say adios and elect every available new face on the ballots…real conservatives, real Americans! Enough of these moron RINOS!

Dave Smith
1 year ago

My question for Americans is simple…What difference will any of this talk make or matter if the elections for American cities, states and federal representatives are conducted using voting machines manufactured and programmed in and by people in in a foreign country? Dominion voting machines, created under very dubious beginnings, manufactured in Canada and programmed by a company outside of America. I don’t care if Queen Elizabeth II, one of our oldest allies, was the manufacturer and programmer herself, none of our elections should have any input from a foreign entity. How ignorant can Americans be to believe any part of this situation is good? Stop living in the dream world that our government looks out for “We the People,” because choosing to NOT LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE AND ALLOW IT TO BE JUDGED IN A COURT OF LAW is not the same as “There’s no evidence!” Especially when you give people time to hide what they’ve done! Democrats magically winning anything in the last elections was an utterly Un-American exercise, the capital trespassing incident was caused by democrats forgetting they work FOR Americans and now that Sippy Cup joe is creating a “back to normal” America, politicians on both sides are showing their true colors by forgetting they ALL work for us. Trump is the ONLY president to keep all his promises and the only one who can fix what politicians are doing to us.

Nick Patriot
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Smith

Right you are sir. I still get inundated with letters for $$$ from the GOP. I have withdrawn from the party. I write on them “No Trump No $$$” and mail back.

1 year ago

10% of this wasteful, politicians pet projects,and increasing the size of a government that’s already bloated,inefficient, ineffective, corrupt,and full of useless self serving democrats and republican pretenders!!
We the People MUST send a message these LOSERS will understand.
THROW THEM OUT, they have FAILED America and FAILED American Citizens for whom THEY WORK!!
These ingrates believe they are above the Constitution, Our laws and look down upon Citizens!

1 year ago

They all have to go ~ they’ve been in office too long, and are lazy and ineffective. I know the dimrats have us pretty hogtied, but a little more fight would look better than the kow-towing and capitulating that the all-talk congress members are looking like fools over. Give it up, oldtimers and let some new, more fiery blood in to work for us.

1 year ago

These people are a joke. Spending and legislating the country into poverty one onerous bill after another, and always filled with special interest pork for campaign contributions and kickbacks. A representative government “For the People”, my ass! That train left the beltway long, long ago,,,,

Bill G
1 year ago

Seems like most so-called republicans are liberal democrats working undercover. Very few people who have a r after their name seem to have very slinky backbones when they are pressured to do the right or responsible thing.

PJ Thom
1 year ago

DC is corrupt democrats and republicans alike. The swamp must be drained. They have the power over our money. We work to earn it and they waste it all while they are taking pay offs from lobbiest. We must stand strong against the corrupt system.

1 year ago
Reply to  PJ Thom

President Trump had it correct – DRAIN THIS SWAMP!

1 year ago
Reply to  Garye

AME !!!!!!!

1 year ago

These Rino Republicans Senators need to be voted out. Shame on them for putting so much debt on future generations! Idiots !!! McConnell needs to go.

Tim Toroian
1 year ago

They reached the top of the bell curve that has 100 at top dead center and slipped, all the way to the bottom. We need to start calling them American Quislings.

Sean Richman
1 year ago

How totally unaware or stupid can the people that are supposed to know what would happen in the middle east be,when the average AMERICAN on the street knew that this would happen.I would think that we need new leaders in government because we sure don’t have any now.Dumber follows dumb and it doesn’t stop there.

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