- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Former President Donald Trump slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday for helping pass the White House’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, saying the Kentucky Republican is the “most overrated man in politics.”

Mr. Trump, who many view as the leader of the Republican Party, said Mr. McConnell’s support of the infrastructure deal only helped clear the way for Democrats to pass a $3.5 trillion party-line spending bill.

“Nobody will ever understand why Mitch McConnell allowed this non-infrastructure bill to be passed,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “He has given up all of his leverage for the big whopper of a bill that will follow.”

Mr. Trump’s remarks came as Mr. McConnell and 18 other Republicans joined all 50 Senate Democrats to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. The final 69-30 tally easily cleared the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold, granting President Biden a key domestic policy win.

Despite Mr. McConnell’s support, the majority of Senate Republicans voted against the 2,702-page bill. Most said they did so because the package is improperly funded, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating it would add $256 billion to the deficit.

GOP lawmakers also opposed the infrastructure deal because Democratic leaders have tied it to the bigger $3.5 trillion legislation.

“The bill’s sponsors repeatedly said it would be paid for. It’s not. In fact, it’s not just a little bit off — it’s a quarter of a trillion dollars short,” said Sen. Bill Hagerty, Tennessee Republican. “I am [also] frustrated with this legislation because it is tied to the Democrats’ real ambition, which is their multi-trillion-dollar march to socialism. … Democrats have admitted this is the plan.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, has pledged not to move the infrastructure package until the Senate passes the larger $3.5 trillion bill.

“I’m hopeful that we would have a bipartisan bill. I think it would be really important to demonstrate the bipartisanship that has always been a hallmark of our infrastructure legislation,” she said recently. “But we’re not going down the path unless we all go down the path together.”

Democrats have dubbed the $3.5 trillion package “human infrastructure” in hopes of making it an easier sell to voters. However, the legislation amounts to a liberal wish list.

Included within the package, according to Senate Democrats, is free community college, universal pre-kindergarten and expanded health care benefits. Democrats also plan to push for amnesty for illegal immigrants and new mandates phasing out fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas, from the electric grid.

To pay for all of the new spending, Democrats are eyeing a repeal of Mr. Trump’s signature tax cuts, as well as a “carbon polluter import fee.”

Since the $3.5 trillion package is unlikely to garner Republican support, Democrats plan to pass it along party lines via budget reconciliation. The process allows some spending measures to avoid the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold and pass with a simple majority of 51 votes, including the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.

Given the situation, Mr. Trump has urged Republicans to oppose the infrastructure bill rather than allow Democrats to hold it hostage for reconciliation.

“Once they pass this bill out of the Senate, it will sit in the House until they get steamrolled by the biggest government expansion in a generation,” Mr. Trump said recently.

Mr. McConnell and other Republicans, however, have refused to heed such warnings. Instead, they argue the two bills are not linked and publicly doubt whether every single Democrat will be on board with reconciliation.

“I don’t care what Nancy Pelosi says, in the Senate, they’re two separate proposals,” Mr. McConnell said during a recent appearance on Fox News.

Mr. Trump, though, says such logic will only wind up benefiting Democrats and the White House.

“I have quietly said for years that Mitch McConnell is the most overrated man in politics — now I don’t have to be quiet anymore,” the former president said. “He is working so hard to give Biden a victory, now they’ll go for the big one, including the biggest tax increases in the history of our country.”

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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