UPDATED 1:00 PM PT – Wednesday, May 26, 2021
The weekly Senate Republican Leadership News Conference dove into discussion of infrastructure, inflation and international conflict. After a week of tense negotiations and the resurgence of partisan politics, Senate Republicans aren’t overly optimistic their Democrat counterparts are open to discussion.
Beginning the weekly Senate Republican Leadership news conference on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) shared that the Democrats’ infrastructure bill had gone so far off course, even long-time party strategists such as Obama’s own chair of the National Economic Council were concerned.
“Larry Summers is saying not only would it help reduce the inflationary spiral,” he explained. “But also put to good use that money if it were repurposed for other ambitious goals that the Biden Administration has.'”
Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) continued the conference by stating that while the Republicans have shown up to the negotiating table ready to deal, the White House staff appeared to be less willing to split the difference. He thought progress was being made on the infrastructure bill through productive discussions between Republican senators and Joe Biden. He suggested the staff of the White House was more willing than Biden to make a deal.
It was Senate Conference chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) who went a step further, arguing that the lack of effort shown by the Biden administration to agree on solutions to fix the nation’s bridges and roads could have a far more sinister explanation.
“One of two things has happened: either he has changed his mind or Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have overridden what the President told us,” he asserted. “They have members of their caucus who are now recommending $7.1 trillion in significant liberal spending and it is a massive amount of spending on social programs.”
Shortly after, Policy Committee chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) put the facts into perspective. He reported that $7.1 trillion in today’s dollars is more than what the U.S. government spent on winning WWII. He suggested that although the government has many challenges to face up ahead, none of them are comparable to the historical world war.
President Biden’s economy:
— Senator Roy Blunt (@RoyBlunt) May 26, 2021
Vice chairman of the Senate Republican Party Conference Joni Ernst (I.A.) echoed Blunt’s’ sentiments by stating that for small towns in her state of Iowa, infrastructure is a simple concept.
“For them they need a highway bypass around their community,” the vice chairman expressed. “That is what Iowans believe infrastructure to be.”
Senatorial Committee chairman Rick Scott (R-Fla.) shifted directions by arguing that while Democrats were focused on spending trillions for their pet projects at home, foreign threats still posed a clear and present danger to the Americans. However, Democrats claim they’re trying to help.
“We all have to figure out how are we going to compete against communist China…we clearly have a new Cold War,” he expressed. “I think it is important for all Americans to stop buying Chinese products. It is important for all of us to understand we are in a fight for the future of this country.”
For the remainder of the week, the House of Representatives are poised to hear testimony from cabinet heads regarding the official budget while leaving the Senate leadership to continue and try to bring bipartisan cooperation to an administration that has yet to show any signs of playing ball.