The GOP’s Counter-Proposal: Steal From States

Written by SK Ashby

Republicans are making counter-offers on infrastructure spending that are predictably inadequate in the actual spending department, but their proposal for paying for their offers is something only a Republican could write down with a straight face and call it serious.

Democrats intend to pay for their proposals by raising taxes on the rich, of course, but Republicans are against raising taxes. And without new taxes, how do you pay for it?

Their big idea is to reappropriate money that was already allocated for state governments in the American Rescue Plan.

[Senator Roger Wicker] said the Republican plan would largely be paid for by repurposing Covid relief money for state governments that was authorized by the $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief bill enacted in March. Additionally, he indicated the GOP offer would count the money spent in the China bill toward the total.

That may be a non-starter for the White House, however, which has proposed corporate tax increases to pay for its plan.

“We hope to move forward with Republicans” on infrastructure, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday. At the same time, he said the Democrats wouldn’t let the GOP “stand in our way.” Schumer said the plan, one way or another, is “to move forward in July.”

You know, legally speaking, state governments might have something to say about it if the federal government suddenly tried to take back money that was already appropriated for them. State governments have already made plans for that money. Here in Ohio, the state government is already using COVID relief money to fund vaccine drives including a lottery program.

The White House and congressional Democrats aren't going to even entertain this idea and, when they don't, Republicans are going to claim they tried to meets Democrats halfway only to be rejected. But they didn't. It's smoke and mirrors. Almost half of their counteroffer includes spending already authorized or planned and the other half is funded by stealing from states. It's a joke.

The GOP's new offer is designed to garner positive headlines across political media while not actually conceding much ground beyond their original offer. They're using clever accounting to make their offer appear $500 billion bigger than it actually is.