Washington dysfunction on full display

Published 9:02 am Wednesday, October 6, 2021

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By Rep. Jerry Carl

The federal government is not known for being particularly productive or efficient at solving problems. The truth is, Washington often creates more problems and more chaos than it solves. The past few weeks – and especially last week – are a prime example of this.

For the better part of this year, Democrats in the House and Senate have been working on two major pieces of legislation. The first is what they are calling the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Package,” which totals roughly $1.2 trillion. This legislation made it out of the Senate, but the House has not yet voted on it. Meanwhile, the Democrats have also been negotiating a $3.5 trillion taxing and spending increase, which they are calling “human infrastructure.” This bill contains outrageous policies including taxpayer funding for abortions, hundreds of billions for the Green New Deal, trillions in tax increases, the creation of a surveillance program allowing the IRS to monitor your bank transactions, and it provides amnesty for more than 8 million immigrants.

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Progressive Democrats gave Speaker Pelosi an ultimatum that they would not vote on the $1.2 trillion bill without also getting the opportunity to vote on the $3.5 trillion liberal wish list bill. Speaker Pelosi promised both of these would come to the House floor for a vote by the end of September, but she fell flat on her face last week as the battle within the Democrat caucus got out of control. Members of both parties were in limbo all last week as we waited to find out if votes would be called on either of these bills. After many late nights and much confusion, neither bill made it to the House floor, demonstrating total dysfunction of a Democrat-led House, Senate, and White House.

While these failed negotiations to ram through a liberal wish list were underway last week, Congress was facing several huge deadlines. September 30th was the end of the federal government’s fiscal year, and without Congressional action, the government would be faced with a shutdown. Additionally, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced the federal government would hit its debt ceiling by October 18th. Speaker Pelosi narrowly managed to pass a temporary spending bill to keep the government from shutting down, and instead of passing any real bipartisan infrastructure package, the House passed a 30-day extension to keep federal infrastructure projects moving along.

Given my background in infrastructure, I understand firsthand how infrastructure projects are a high priority for my district. Unfortunately, as a result of Progressive Democrats’ unsuccessful attempts to push through Green New Deal projects and big government mandates, negotiations over legitimate investments in infrastructure have taken a back seat. The United States has real infrastructure needs – including roads, bridges, waterways, airports, and increased broadband access – but Democrats in Congress and the Biden Administration have let down the American people. I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make wise, targeted investments in actual infrastructure projects across the nation, but I will not support either of these two massive tax and spend bills.