Despite its moniker as a “bipartisan infrastructure bill,” the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains no conservative victories but has many leftist carveouts.
President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, marking Biden’s most significant legislative victory since Congress passed his coronavirus rescue plan in March, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
This infrastructure bill serves as one part of Biden’s infrastructure agenda. The other bill, the $1.75 trillion reconciliation Build Back Better Act, would fund “human infrastructure,” expanding American welfare programs and climate change policies.
Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and other Democrats have compared his Build Back Better legislative agenda to the New Deal and the Great Society programs even though Democrats have scaled down the Build Back Better Act from $3.5 to $1.75 trillion.
The passage of the so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill would not have been possible without the support and advocacy of 19 Senate Republicans and 13 House Republicans.
The 19 Senate Republicans who voted for the bill in August include:
- Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
- Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
- Mike Crapo (R-ID)
- Roy Blunt (R-MO)
- Richard Burr (R-NC)
- Deb Fischer (R-NE)
- Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
- Rob Portman (R-OH)
- Thom Tillis (R-NC)
- Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
- Jim Risch (R-ID)
- Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
- Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
- Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
- Roger Wicker (R-MS)
- Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
- John Hoeven (R-ND)
- Susan Collins (R-ME)
- Mitt Romney (R-UT)
The 13 House Republicans who voted for the bill include:
- John Katko (R-NY),
- Don Bacon (R-NE),
- Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ),
- Fred Upton (R-MI),
- Adam Kinzinger (R-IL),
- Don Young (R-AK),
- Tom Reed (R-NY),
- Chris Smith (R-NJ),
- Andrew Garbarino (R-NY),
- Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY),
- Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA),
- Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH),
- David McKinley (R-WV)
While these 32 Republicans helped shepherd the bill into law, other conservatives have railed and messaged against the bill for months.
Woke Victories in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), the Republican Study Committee (RSC) chairman, noted that only $110 billion of the $1.2 trillion in spending would fund roads, bridges, and other projects that most Americans would consider infrastructure.
The RSC wrote that it would include $66 billion in funding for Amtrak while preventing any taxpayer accountability for the railway service.
The bill would fix “racism physically built into some of our highways,” as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has claimed.
The bipartisan infrastructure proposal floating around the Senate is essentially a Green New Deal Lite.
— RSC (@RepublicanStudy) August 2, 2021
The bipartisan infrastructure would also advance leftist priorities:
- Defines “gender identity” as a protected class.
- Doles out “digital equity” grants partly based on racial or ethnic minority status.
- State-mandated carbon reduction program
- Contains funding for “zero-emission vehicles”
- Addresses “over-the-road bus tolling equity”
- Contains the word “equity” 64 times
- Provides roughly $2.5 billion to help the U.S. government expand the border processing stations used by migrants from poor Central American nations and other regions around the world.
- Contains a $10 million grant to create a Vehicle Miles Travelled Tax (VMT) Pilot program, which many conservatives argue could lead to a permanent VMT tax.
- A $1 million per state grant to encourage children to walk to school.
Sen. Cassidy, a chief advocate for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, claimed in early August that the bill does not contain provisions advancing critical race theory (CRT).
However, as Breitbart News and others noted, it would in fact advance CRT.
Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, responded to Cassidy, noting lines in the bill asserting “race and gender-neutral efforts are insufficient to address” issues surrounding “disadvantaged business enterprises.”
Another provision would “encourage women to enter the field of trucking” to address the alleged gender inequity of the trucking industry.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes the Digital Equity Act that expands broadband communities that lack internet connectivity due to poverty, lack of infrastructure, or status as a rural community.
However, as Breitbart News’ John Binder noted, the legislation would dole out funding to blue, more diverse districts, to the detriment of Republican, whiter communities:
… the broadband expansion will be partially based on how many nonwhite residents and newly arrived immigrants a particular community has. Communities with large foreign-born populations and are majority-minority will be first in line for the expansion.
In effect, the less white an area is and the more immigrants who reside there, the quicker that community is to secure broadband expansion. Because Democrats tend to represent these communities, Republican votes for the bill serve to penalize their constituents for their region’s demographic makeup.
No Conservative Victories in the So-Called Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
Most Americans would believe that a bipartisan bill would also contain victories for Republicans as well as Democrats.
However, the so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill does not contain any nominally conservative victories.
For instance, the legislation approves zero funding for the border wall.
The legislation calls for a study to review the potential impact of revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, even though it does not restore the job-creating project.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill requires 180 days after the legislation’s enactment to ensure that “none of the funds made available for” each infrastructure project “may be obligated … unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.”
However, the bill contains a provision that allows the heads of federal agencies to bypass the requirement if it is “inconsistent with the public interest” and “does not meet “satisfactory quality,” or if they believe buying American will increase costs.
Cryptocurrency Regulations that Send American Jobs Overseas
The bipartisan infrastructure bill contains two regulations of cryptocurrencies that many conservatives and industry officials have criticized as threatening American liberties and could result in the offshoring of American jobs.
One regulation, proposed by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and the Biden White House as a $30 billion “pay for,” would require that any broker that transfers any digital currencies would need to file a tax return under a “modified information reporting regime.”
Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) told Breitbart News in late July, “This was either skillfully crafted or maliciously ignorant. Few policies could be so bad for America and good for big banks.”
“Crypto has been around for over a decade without proper regulation, but it only took two days for the Senate to use crypto as a pay-for in this bad infrastructure deal,” the Ohio conservative added.
The so-called bipartisan bill also has a provision that could put Americans up to five years in jail for failing to report receipt of cryptocurrency assets.
Abraham Sutherland wrote a report for the Proof of Stake Alliance that noted the so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill contains a provision to amend tax code 6050I that would make it a felony if one did not report receiving digital assets, whether it be cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), or any other digital assets.
Sutherland noted, “Miners, stakers, lenders, decentralized application and marketplace users, traders, businesses and individuals are all at risk of being subject to this reporting requirement, even though in most situations the person or entity in receipt is not in the position to report the required information.”
“Congressional Democrats have a completely antiquated view of cryptocurrency and that has led them to add yet another burdensome hurdle to everyday crypto investors. The United States needs to be leading the world in the digital asset space instead of overregulating it and pushing it overseas,” Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) told Breitbart News during an exclusive interview in September.
Carveouts and Benefits for Republicans who Voted for the Bipartisan Bill
Many Republicans who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill voted also received carveouts benefitting their state as well as their campaigns.
The United States Chamber of Commerce, which traditionally supported Republicans and Republican legislation, backed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Breitbart News’ Binder reported that all but nine House and Senate Republicans who voted for the bipartisan bill received donates from the Chamber.
Tillis, representing the swing state of North Carolina, received $15,000 from the Chamber’s official political action committee (PAC) in recent election cycles, the most of any of the lawmakers.
Sullivan, Blunt, Graham, Portman, McConnell, and Collins each have taken $10,000 from the U.S. Chamber PAC in recent election cycles from 2015 to this year. Cassidy, Capito, Burr, Fischer, Murkowski, and Risch have each received $5,000 from the PAC, while Grassley last received money, $1,500, from the PAC in 2016.
In the House, Katko, Bacon, Garbarino, Fitzpatrick, and Gonzalez each received $6,000 from the U.S. Chamber PAC between 2020 and this year. Upton and Reed each took $5,000 while Van Drew and Young each accepted $2,500 checks from the PAC.
The so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill also doubled the funding of the Appalachian Regional Commission, on which Gayle Manchin, Manchin’s wife, sits as the co-chair.
McConnell bragged that Kentucky would receive $4.6 billion in infrastructure funding from the bipartisan bill.
Republicans supportive of the so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill have frequently claimed that the so-called bipartisan bill is not tied to the progressive Build Back Better Act to excuse their support for the bill.
Despite their claims, the two bills are inherently linked.
Moderate Democrats such as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have negotiated with more progressive Democrats to support the bill, which would lead to the moderates supporting the progressive bill.
The $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which serves as the legislative vehicle for the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act, contains legislative text that allows for House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) to make changes to the bipartisan bill as he sees fit.
The section reads:
In the House of Representatives, the chair of the Committee on the Budget may adjust the allocations, ag- gregates, and other budgetary levels included in this con- current resolution to reflect changes resulting from the en- actment of an infrastructure bill or joint resolution, in- cluding legislation implementing the INVEST in America Act or a bipartisan infrastructure agreement.
This would appear to prove Senate conservative’s arguments that backing the bipartisan bill would only enable and further the partisan infrastructure bill.
In July, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told Breitbart News that Republicans who backed the bipartisan infrastructure bill would be “complicit” in enabling the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act.
Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) told Breitbart News that the 32 Republicans who voted for the so-called bipartisan infrastructure not only enabled the leftist carveouts in the bipartisan bill but only supported the Build Back Better Act.
“This $1.2 trillion so-called infrastructure bill is a trojan horse filled with billions of dollars to fund leftist objectives and add over $400 billion to our national debt,” Rosendale told Breitbart News exclusively. “We need to invest in hard infrastructure in America. Our focus should be on roads, bridges, critical water systems, and broadband. What we don’t need are far-left priorities such as grants for electric vehicles, Green New Deal programs, and social justice initiatives—which make up a large portion of this bill. It’s extremely disheartening to see some of my Republican colleagues vote in favor of this legislation and pave the way for Democrats’ upcoming $1.75 trillion ‘Build Back Broke’ boondoggle. These Republicans are responsible for the consequences of not just the so-called infrastructure bill they supported, but the disastrous reconciliation bill as well.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.