While the attention of our country is focused on the shocking disaster in Afghanistan, an open southern border collapsed into chaos, skyrocketing inflation, and a lingering pandemic, Democrats in Washington are working to enact the largest, most reckless spending package in America’s history—with a price tag of $4.7 trillion.
It is a sad reality today that Congress no longer operates the way it was designed. In recent years, the regular legislative process has been increasingly abandoned in favor of partisan brinksmanship, and there may never have been a more glaring example than the monstrous spending bills at hand.
Earlier this year, Democrats already used their slim majorities in the House and Senate to pass $1.9 trillion in new spending. They did so under the guise of additional “pandemic relief,” but only 9% of those taxpayer dollars were actually directed toward health care.
Now they’re at it again.
A $1.2 trillion so-called “infrastructure” bill has been sent to the House by 50 Senate Democrats, this time with the votes of 19 Senate Republicans. Anyone who reviews the 2,702 pages of this legislation can see it differs dramatically from what is being advertised. For example, of the $1.2 trillion in spending, only $110 billion would actually go to highways. Negotiators assured us the bill would be paid for, but it’s not. They insisted it would not raise taxes, but it clearly does.
Some negotiators contended that the passage of this first bill would satisfy the spending desires of enough Democrats to impede the passage of their companion $3.5 trillion Bernie Sanders bill. Still, Speaker Pelosi has committed to her caucus she will keep the two measures tied together.
In her August 21 letter to House Democrats (that reads like a missive from Karl Marx), Speaker Pelosi boasts that this unprecedented, big government spending package will finally deliver on the Democrats’ “transformative vision” for our country that is permanent and “life-changing” for all. Of course, her letter does not refer to the freedom, opportunity, and security that every hardworking American would be forced to surrender as the Left charges forward with its nightmare agenda.
They don’t want you to know what is actually included in this $4.7 trillion package, like huge taxpayer subsidies for Obamacare, green energy, electric vehicles, and teacher unions, and a repeal of long-standing protections against taxpayer funding of abortions. The spending package will increase government dependency, eliminate jobs, reduce paychecks, crush small businesses and family farms, and tax American companies at a higher rate than Communist China. The legislation would also recognize “gender identity” as a protected class like race and religion, grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, and create new rules and regulations that dramatically favor large urban areas on the coasts at the expense of our rural communities.
According to my colleagues on the House Budget Committee, this spending package would burden Louisianians with an additional $250 billion in debt. The package would also reverse the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, under which families in my state received an average tax cut of $2,000. The package would provide amnesty for 70,000 illegal immigrants in Louisiana, which could lower wages by an average of $800 per year. All of this when prices of consumer goods are increasing at the fastest pace in 40 years.
Democrats have a mere three-seat majority in the House and a 50-50 deadlock in the Senate. Does any objective person think their electoral mandate is to ram through the most partisan and most expensive legislative package in U.S. history using the slimmest majority possible?
My state needs investment in roads, bridges, waterways, and broadband as much as any state. If Democrats allowed us to vote on an actual infrastructure bill, most of my Republican colleagues and I would help find ways to pay for and support it. But that is not what has been presented.
Out of $4.7 trillion, Louisiana would receive approximately $110 million annually for ten years in new highway dollars. The extraordinary costs of those dollars far outweigh any benefits.
If these bills pass, we will not only lose a countless number of jobs from the devastating new taxes on Louisiana businesses and industries, mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren with further debt, and give advantage to our nation’s adversaries—we will sacrifice many of the fundamental freedoms that have made us the most powerful, successful and generous nation in the history of the world.
Margaret Thatcher famously observed, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Democrats on Capitol Hill may ignore that reality, but we cannot.
Congressman Mike Johnson is Vice Chairman of the House Republican Conference. This column originally appeared at the Washington Times.