Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview Tuesday that Senate Republicans who continue to cooperate with Democrats on infrastructure bills would only be “complicit” in enabling the Democrats’ leftist agenda and allowing for even more inflation.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) remains poised to hold a procedural vote this week on the vehicle of the $1 trillion infrastructure package. The vote would require ten Senate Republican votes to have the bipartisan bill vehicle proceed; however, many Senate Republicans, led by Johnson, have led the fight against the bipartisan bill.
Johnson, one of the Senate Republicans leading the fight against the Democrat-led infrastructure bills, released a statement last week with Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Bill Hagerty (R-TN), charging that by supporting the bipartisan infrastructure bill, they would only enable Democrats to pass their mammoth $3.5 trillion “infrastructure” bill.
Johnson said in his interview that supporting the $1 trillion coronavirus bill would help enable the Democrats’ to pass their “infrastructure” bill that would dramatically expand the scope of the federal government and create countless leftist programs.
Johnson told Breitbart News that if Republicans are “cooperative and complicit” with the $1 trillion bipartisan bill, the Democrat bill is “just going to be backfilled with more long-term entitlements, welfare, liberal, radical wishlist spending proposals. And, so as we wrote in our press release, joining the Democrats in this bipartisan infrastructure bill enables the reckless tax and spending spree on party Democrats. So, I don’t I don’t understand why any Republican one would want to be complicit in doing that.”
The Wisconsin senator compared the Senate Republicans backing the bipartisan bill to Charlie Brown in the Peanuts comic, suggesting that Democrats, as Lucy Brown, would pull the proverbial football at the last minute and fool Republicans into enabling their legislative agenda.
“Nancy Pelosi will not move on the infrastructure bill until they pass the Senate passes the reckless tax and spending spree. So, every Republican that would vote for the bipartisan infrastructure has to know that they’re leaving a void that will be filled in the $3.5 trillion package. So they have to be fully aware of it,” Johnson said.
“I hope Republicans realize they’re just going to be the Charlie Browns to the Democrats’ Lucy once again here. I don’t see how they how they can’t see that at this point,” he said.
Republicans have frequently attacked President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats for the rampant inflation that has emerged under the first seventh months of Biden’s administration. However, Johnson warned that supporting a bipartisan infrastructure bill with little-t0-no spending offsets — which could also enable Democrats to back a $3.5 trillion trillion coronavirus bill to pass — could lead to more inflation and muddy Republicans’ rhetoric against Democrats.
Johnson pointed out that Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) has referred to the Democrat $3.5 trillion bill as an “inflation bomb.”
The Wisconsin conservative has also noted that the Democrats’ gargantuan infrastructure bill contains temporary policy offsets to make the legislation appear much less expensive.
He said, “I suspect what Democrats will with their spending proposals, the new programs, the new entitlements, the new welfare benefits, the new dependencies, they will say that they’re going to end in three years or five years or whatever. And they won’t, once you grant an entitlement, what do you ever pull it away? So whatever the top line, the headline figure is of this, again, reckless tax and spending spree, it’s going to be much, much larger in reality.”
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget wrote Monday that the Democrat partisan infrastructure bill would likely be $5.4 trillion, which is roughly two trillion more than the Democrats’ estimate.
The Committee detailed some of the Democrat “infrastructure” bill’s more expensive provisions, which includes:
- $1.1 trillion in expanded Child Tax Credits
- $330 billion in clean energy and vehicle tax incentives
- $100 billion in climate-smart agriculture, wildfire prevention, and forestry
- $285 billion in funding for community colleges, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and Pell Grants
- $250 billion for child care
- $225 billion for paid family and medical leave
- $165 billion for universal pre-kindergarten
- $190 billion for affordable housing programs
- $400 billion for expansions of home and community-based healthcare services
- $370 billion in new dental, vision, and hearing benefits in Medicare,
- $300 billion to close the Medicaid “coverage gap” in non-Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion states
- $165 billion extension of ACA benefits from the Democrats’ coronavirus relief bill, the American Rescue Plan
- $120 billion to lower prescription drugs
- $120 billion to change the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deduction, which primarily helps wealthy, Democrat states
Howard Gleckman, a senior policy fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said that the $500 billion in “pay fors” for the $1 trillion bipartisan bill is largely “pixie dust.”
“I have no idea why any Republican would support this,” Johnson said of the bipartisan and Democrat infrastructure bills.
Johnson said that he and other Senate Republicans will do all they can to gum up the works as Schumer moves forward with the reconciliation and bipartisan infrastructure bills.
Johnson led a dramatic fight against Schumer’s Endless Frontier Act in June, which derailed the bill’s progress and forced Schumer to delay the vote.
“There’ll be a group of us who will demand a fulsome debate. Let’s put it that way. And, you know, many amendments and, you know, there are certain things we can do to slow down the process, as you saw” with the Endless Frontier Act, Johnson said.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.