Tennessee Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) on Thursday night halted a move by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to expedite advancement of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
The spending package is not dead yet, but it will not have the accelerated path to passage it would have enjoyed had all 100 senators consented to quickly moving through over a dozen amendment votes Thursday evening and sending the bill to the House of Representatives.
In a statement issued early Friday morning, Hagerty said a major reason he refused to consent was an analysis published by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) earlier that day that determined the legislation lacked full funding. According to the CBO’s projections, the infrastructure measure in its current form would enlarge the national deficit by $256 billion. The bill contains $110 billion for roads and bridges, $73 billion for electric-grid improvements, $65 billion for expanded broadband access, $55 billion for drinking-water cleanliness, and $7.5 billion for electric-vehicle charging among other expenditures.
Speaking on Fox Business News earlier on Thursday, Hagerty said that while some leftists in the House of Representatives hope to sink the Senate infrastructure legislation because they would prefer an even larger version, the Senate package is fiscally irresponsible as it is.
“I can tell you this: Washington math can be very funny; it can be very perplexing,” the senator told Fox Business host Elizabeth MacDonald. “I’ve been a businessman all my life and it’s hard to understand, but I can understand this: It’s going to be inflationary and it’s going to add to the debt and the deficit that our children and grandchildren are going to continue to bear.”
Prior to Thursday’s CBO analysis, many of the legislation’s supporters such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO contended that the bill had funding sources sufficient to cover its full cost. Those sources include $205 billion in repurposed COVID-relief money, $53 billion from some states repaying unused federal unemployment insurance money and, controversially, $56 billion in revenue from economic growth predicted to result from the infrastructure projects to be funded by the bill.
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