KEY VOTE: Senate · Aug 2, 2021

Heritage Action opposes the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

This week, the Senate will be voting on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), the so-called “bipartisan” infrastructure package. The legislation recklessly spends $1 trillion, despite the fact that the national debt is approaching $30 trillion and inflation is surging to levels not seen in 13 years, all of which is “paid” for by using slick accounting tricks. Not only is the deal bad policy, but it is also a bad process, as it is a prerequisite to passing the rest of President Biden’s catastrophic agenda through a Democrat-only reconciliation package.

Worse, Democrat leaders have made clear that this package is linked to the reconciliation package that will include nearly every Democrat priority—from mass amnesty for illegal aliens, to the PRO Act, to job-killing corporate tax increases. President Biden, Leader Schumer and Congressional Democratic leadership have been telling us for months that these two packages are linked. And while the White House has walked back a threat to veto the bill if reconciliation does not pass, Speaker Pelosi continues to tell the world that she will hold this infrastructure package hostage until the Senate passes a reconciliation bill. Additionally, moderate Democrats have openly said that passing the bipartisan bill is the key to getting their vote for the reconciliation bill, meaning that voting for this bill enables the enactment of a Democratic agenda that will fundamentally remake America.

This infrastructure package should be opposed on process and policy. Supporters of the bill often reference crumbling roads and bridges when naming reasons for their support, but the deal earmarks almost as much money for the subsidization of railroads and public transit ($105 billion) as it does for rebuilding roads and bridges ($110 billion). Of that sum, nearly $40 billion would go to public transit authorities, despite the fact that Congress sent more than $67 billion to transit under the guise of pandemic relief funds over the past year and a half, a staggering amount that is equal to more than three years of revenue from fares, parking fees, and advertising, most of which becomes welfare for labor unions.

The package also includes almost $8 billion in subsidies for electric vehicle chargers, even though profit incentives have driven private actors in the auto industry, independent startups, and utilities across the country to rush to build charging stations on their own. These are just a few examples of the bloated spending in the deal, which could not come at a worse time as the nation deals with the worst inflation in more than a decade.

Claims that this expansion of government is fully paid for are misleading at best, as the package relies on a series of dubious and inappropriate “pay-for'' budget gimmicks to cover the costs. For example, while auctioning off 5G spectrum and selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will yield real cash, if we can turn these government-held assets into money, that should be used to pay down our record debt, not finance new expenditures. Additionally, the bill relies on dynamic scoring as a pay-for, which counts future revenue that the government will receive as a result of the economic growth that the underlying legislation produces. While accurate dynamic scoring is a valid pay-for, it is difficult for the Congressional Budget Office to calculate, and economic research suggests that infrastructure spending does very little to create long-term economic gain.

Over the past year and a half, Congress has been spending money at an unsustainable pace. Democrats desperately want to pour more than $4 trillion into an economy facing rising inflation fueled by excess government spending. Republicans should not enable this reckless spending spree that will devalue the paychecks of working Americans and should start by voting against this legislation.

The Heritage Foundation - A Transportation Agenda for 2021 and Beyond
The Heritage Foundation - Biden’s Tax-and-Spend Plan Expands Federal Power, Not Jobs

Heritage Action opposes the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.