Liberal Senators Push Biden for $10 Trillion Climate and Infrastructure Bill

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Senator Ed Markey (D., Mass.) during a hearing on Capitol Hill in 2019 (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Last week, I wrote about how in contrast to Barack Obama after the financial crisis, President Biden isn’t even pretending to care about digging out of the historic debt accumulated during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as he gets prepared to roll out $4 trillion in new spending, liberal senators are trying to press their luck.

The Washington Post reports:

On Monday, Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) unveiled a climate and infrastructure plan that called for $10 trillion in spending over the next decade. Biden’s initial campaign pledge to invest $2 trillion over four years was already inadequate to confronting climate change, and his coming proposal may be even less so, said Robert Pollin, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who helped craft the Markey-Dingell plan. Pollin said a $3 trillion investment only amounted to about 1.3 percent of America’s gross domestic product.

This is completely bananas. To reiterate, even before Biden was sworn in, the nation’s debt had eclipsed the size of the economy for the first time since World War II, and was on its way to smashing the all-time record. Then, Biden added $1.9 trillion in new spending. Now, he’s expected to propose $4 trillion more, which will only be partially offset by tax increases.

To put the $10 trillion Markey and Dingell are proposing in perspective, over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office expects that we’ll spend $1.4 trillion on veterans’ programs, $6 trillion on Medicaid, $8.5 trillion on defense, and $8 trillion on all other non-defense discretionary spending. The Markey-Dingell bill would be higher than any of these parts of the budget, only it would come on top of all of these existing expenditures.

Biden is expected to propose an infrastructure bill in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, and then, weeks later, propose another bill, “that includes an expansion in health care insurance coverage; an extension of the expanded child tax benefit; and paid family and medical leave, among other efforts aimed at families,” according to White House officials cited by the Post. Together, the bills are expected to cost $4 trillion or more.

As long as the money is flowing freely, in one sense, you gotta admire the boldness of Markey and Dingell to see what they may be able to slip past the goalie. But trying to downplay the extraordinary amount of spending as if it’s some minor blip is absurd.

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