GOP Reportedly Hope to Scuttle Biden's $3.5 Trillion ‘Megabill’ By Exploiting Chaotic Afghan Pullout
14:18 GMT 06.09.2021 (Updated: 13:59 GMT 19.12.2022)
Democrats have been hoping to ram through President Joe Biden’s new $3.5 trillion budget plan through the evenly split upper chamber of Congress, with GOP critics and maverick Dems lambasting the largest single spending bill in history as showing “no regard to rising inflation, crippling debt or the inevitability of future crises."
As Democrats focus on pushing forward President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda in September, which involves passing a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion Democratic budget plan, the Republicans will hope to put a spoke in their wheel.
The GOP are set to capitalize on the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the fallout it has generated for the POTUS, writes The Hill.
Republicans, who have long lambasted Biden’s much-touted multitrillion-dollar economic plans, are set to propose a plethora of amendments related to Afghanistan as Democratic-led committees hurry to write their pieces of the bill by September 15.
“We must exert maximum pressure on the Democrat majority with our amendments and debate during these committee sessions,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) adressing Republicans.
Democrats themselves need to overcome divisions over the scope of the massive legislation. The first two House committees, Oversight and Reform as well as Natural Resources, considered their respective portions of the reconciliation package on Thursday. These are to subsequently be fused into an all-encompassing bill.
Republicans offered a series of amendments tying the debate back to Afghanistan. Thus, they suggested requiring the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report on the number of Americans who were evacuated during the frenzied rush to airlift people from Kabul after Taliban* swept to power.
© REUTERS / SPAIN MINISTRY OF DEFENSEAfghan collaborators, their families, Spanish soldiers and members of the embassy board a Spanish military plane as part of their evacuation, at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 27, 2021
Afghan collaborators, their families, Spanish soldiers and members of the embassy board a Spanish military plane as part of their evacuation, at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 27, 2021
© REUTERS / SPAIN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE
They similarly proposed transparency regarding how many remain stranded in the war-torn country, and redirecting funds to the Pentagon's inspector general to assist with tracking American military equipment seized by the Islamist militants.
“This conversation about Afghanistan — this is not a distraction. This problem is real,” said Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.).
‘Irrelevant, Embarrassing Distraction’
However, GOP efforts were dismissed as not relevant to the underlying legislation, with House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) saying:
“Unfortunately, this is outside our committee's jurisdiction.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) blasted the Republicans “impulse just to attack whatever happens in the current administration” as an “irrelevant and embarrassing distraction from what we’re trying to do today.”
© REUTERS / ELIZABETH FRANTZHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference with Capitol Hill reporters at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., July 22, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference with Capitol Hill reporters at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., July 22, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz
© REUTERS / ELIZABETH FRANTZ
With a price tag of $3.5 trillion, the budget blueprint was muscled through the Senate and House in August by the democrats. They hope to transform it into a bill President Biden can sign in the coming weeks.
Biden’s infrastructure and spending package consist of the $1 trillion bill negotiated by the White House and a bipartisan group of senators. The latter allocates funds for roads, bridges, rail, broadband and water and moved through the Senate last month, generating support of 19 GOP senators and all 50 Democrats.
The second part is a sweeping $3.5 trillion social spending package. Both House and Senate Democrats passed a budget resolution on it. This will allow Democrats to use the "fast-track" budget reconciliation process to dodge Republican filibuster. Yet, the GOP are staking on the divisions in the House and the Senate among moderates and progressives over the "spending binge".
“There's a huge fight going on in Congress over this. ... It's all going to unfold here in the next few weeks, and I and my colleagues are going to do everything we can to stop it,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).
*A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.