None of the GOP senators really wanted to spend $2.75 billion to achieve digital equity. They also didn’t want to spend $2 million for bee-friendly landscaping. To add to that, they weren’t thrilled to spend $7.5 billion on electric vehicle charging stations.
Yet, there were 19 Republican senators who voted in support of the infrastructure bill.
Biden was quick to boast that there were 69 votes in support of the bill and that it shows that the two sides can work together. Rather than simply taking the win, he decided it was important to thank the senators, calling them individually and telling them, “You showed a lot of courage.”
Courage? Not really.
Most of the senators that voted in favor of the ridiculously overpriced infrastructure bill felt as though they didn’t have a choice. They were backed into a corner. They knew that if they didn’t vote for it, they would have a hard time getting voted back into office – and when the GOP needs to regain the majority in 2022, there’s no room for losing seats.
The Democrats that drafted the infrastructure bill pulled a fast one – and they know it. They created a bill that had so many pages that it was impossible to read it from start to finish before it was time to vote. And, they redefined “infrastructure” to focus on so much more than roads and bridges.
The bill will end up costing trillions, yet Biden sees it as the way for the country to “build back better.” The problem is that there are so many things that aren’t infrastructure – they’re more of the New Green deal than anything else – green energy, electric vehicles, and even climate priorities.
Of course, there were other things thrown into the infrastructure bill to entice some of the GOP senators into voting for it. It’s why senators from North Carolina, Alaska, and others signed it. They get something for their state out of it.
So, is it safe to say that they were courageous like Biden says they were? No. The reality is that they were bribed.
Other senators that signed did so because they knew it was the only way to bring peace into the Senate. It’s why such heavy hitters as Chuck Grassley (IA), Lindsey Graham (SC), Mitt Romney (UT), and Mitch McConnell (KY) signed it. It shows some unity between the parties. It also moves the infrastructure bill off the table so that the senators can begin working on other important legislation.
Without the necessary vote, it would have been a source of contention through the rest of the year. Many senators are realists. They know that they have to give a little (or in this case, a lot) in order to move forward and focus on the greater good.
Only one Republican senator chose not to vote at all. Rather than voting yes or no, Mike Rounds of South Dakota felt that it was better not to cast. That way, he could maintain a middle ground without facing harsh criticism from either side.
President Biden wants to treat the vote of 69-30 as a win. While it is a win, it’s not one that involved courage from the Republicans. Right now, the GOP will give him this. But make no mistake, they will not give him everything. The border crisis and other issues must still be dealt with. Now that the Dems have gotten their way on infrastructure, they should be willing to give a little more on other issues.