Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview Thursday that the “divided” Democrat Party can only afford to lose three members to pass their infrastructure bill.
Smith said Democrats, with a 218-member majority, continue to face a narrow path to passing the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package. He noted Democrats remain divided over whether to include a repeal of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s limitation of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction and leftists that want even more spending in the infrastructure bill. Repealing the limitations on the SALT tax would primarily benefit wealthy, mostly Democrat states such as New York, New Jersey, and California.
“If the Democrats lose three members, they can’t pass it. If Republicans stick together, the Democrats can only lose three votes to pass it. And there have been more than three Democrats that believe or not have said that they won’t support it unless SALT is included. So, you’re saying Democrats will not support the bill unless they give a tax break to the wealthiest Americans. That’s apparently what they’re saying. So, they’re such a divided party that hardly anyone talks about it. The Squad is pushing their own priorities,” he said.
“When they can only lose three people, it’s going to be difficult for them,” he added.
Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY), said in late March that he will not back an infrastructure bill unless it repealed the limitations on SALT.
“No SALT, no deal,” Suozzi said.
Smith also said Democrats need to decide if they wish to help ordinary Americans or cater to their special interests.
He said, “In my opinion, Washington Democrats really need to look in the mirror and decide if they’re about working-class Americans or if they’re actually about continuing to reward their special interest allies.”
Smith also noted that very little of the gargantuan infrastructure bill would actually go to revitalizing America’s infrastructure.
Smith said, “Now, when you look at this infrastructure bill, they’re trying to call it an infrastructure bill, but in fact out the 2.3 trillion dollars, less than six percent is actually going towards roads and bridges, less than two percent is going towards airports, dams, less than five percent goes to broadband. Less than 13 percent is going to infrastructure.”
He added, “$400 to expand Medicaid. $10 billion to create a civilian climate corps. That’s not infrastructure regardless of how they want to play it off.”
Smith said, “We could work together on a bipartisan infrastructure package but not a boondoggle package, and that’s what this is.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.