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EDITORIAL: House infrastructure bill an exercise in pork

Updated July 5, 2020 - 9:10 pm

House Democrats have long proclaimed an interest in passing bipartisan legislation to tackle national infrastructure improvements. But that was always patent nonsense as long as President Donald Trump sat in the Oval Office — and they proved it last week.

On Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her gang of merry activists approved a $1.5 trillion package of public works projects that they argue are essential to bolstering the economy during the coronavirus crisis. In fact, the legislation is the Green New Deal with lipstick, a massive array of giveaways to favored progressive causes, including renewable energy interests.

“Naturally, this nonsense is not going anywhere in the Senate,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

Far from focusing on rebuilding highways, bridges, airports and other transportation infrastructure, the bill — which runs hundreds of pages — “includes a feast of pork, including renewable energy storage tax credits, grants for public school weatherization and solar panels in low-income housing and electric car charging stations,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

It also sets asides billions for drinking water, broadband expansion, hospital upgrades, public housing fixes and a Postal Service bailout. What any of this has to do with fixing bridges is a mystery.

Other features include a ban on gasoline-powered cars by 2035, a goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and an extension of tax credits for green energy and electric car buyers, who tend to be wealthier Americans. Tellingly, The Washington Post reported that the plan has generated controversy because it “may not be ambitious enough” for the hard-core leftists in the House who favor a much more aggressive plan to ruin the American economy.

“It’s not really an infrastructure bill at all,” Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., of the House Transportation Committee said. “It’s a climate bill that doesn’t even attempt to include consensus solutions to these issues, but instead bludgeons our transportation system, industries and workers into submission.”

With the economy teetering on the brink thanks to the coronavirus, Congress should be focused primarily on taking the steps necessary to ensure the country can weather the pandemic without a catastrophic loss of jobs and a sea of shuttered businesses. Instead, House Democrats seem more concerned with making symbolic partisan gestures that, if actually enacted, would pile more and more regulatory and cost burdens on already struggling firms.

Democrats seem awfully confident that they’ve got Mr. Trump on the run and will prevail in November. We’ll see. But they sure seem intent on providing him with ammunition he can use to attract moderate voters who aren’t interested in blowing up Mount Rushmore or exchanging a market-based economy for green central planning.

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