Tag Archives: infrastructure

Infrastructure needs to pass

The numbers aren’t the source of the disagreement, or at least they shouldn’t be the source.

What needs to happen with President Biden’s infrastructure package is that moderate and progressive Democrats need to find some common ground. They need to develop a compromise that enables the rebuilding of our infrastructure, with at least a nod toward some of the tangential issues associated with it, to proceed.

We need to fix our roads, bridges, airports, ship channels and the like. The cost is going to be huge no matter the number they settle on.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, the moderate West Virginia Democrat, has decided that $3.5 trillion is too much too soon. I disagree with him, but that’s just me. He is the man in position to affect legislation. He wants to pare it back … a lot! I only would implore him to avoid taking away the quality of life improvements contained in the legislation being discussed.

Whether it’s $3.5 trillion or $1.5 trillion or any number between those bookends, there needs to be some progress shown toward rebuilding our infrastructure.

They say it’s best to avoid “letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.” We won’t find perfection in a deeply divided Congress — or between that body and the White House.

There is a lot of good to be harvested. Let’s find it and enact it.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Sen. Manchin is making me crazy

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin seems to know how powerful he is, being an influential “moderate Democratic member” of the Senate.

He is flexing his political muscle with glee.

Manchin speaks in favor of the infrastructure plan that puts a gleam in President Biden’s eye … and now he says Congress and the president need to “pause” on the effort to spend $3.5 trillion to fix our nation’s roads, bridges, rails, airports, ship channels, Internet and other matters.

Why? Because it’s too costly. Manchin, the cagey West Virginian, now stands as the one senator who can put the whole damn thing into dire jeopardy.

Which it is, Sen. Manchin? It looks to me, sitting out here in the peanut gallery, that Manchin is using his muscle to satisfy a politician’s ego.

That would be his own.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

‘Sausage making’ continues

REUTERS/Mike Blake

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Someone once said that crafting legislation is similar to making sausage, in that neither activity is attractive to watch as it takes place.

I will spare you the nuts and guts of sausage making. However, the infrastructure bill that is slogging its way through the U.S. Congress is another matter.

It is taking seemingly forever for congressional Democrats and Republicans to work through their differences. President Biden is waiting for some form of legislation to arrive at his desk. I will presume he’ll sign what Congress delivers to him.

But … man! This is getting painful to watch.

Senate negotiators are hammering out a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that aims to repair our roads, bridges and rail lines; it also will provide greater broadband Internet service. The legislation also figures to put millions of Americans to work, even though quite a few million of us are returning to the work force as the nation fights mightily to rid itself of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is a bipartisan effort, with pols on both sides of the great divide finding ways to compromise. That’s what I call “good government.”

Some progressive politicians want to spend more money; some arch-conservative pols don’t want to spend any money on anything.

Government needs to step up. It needs to find ways to assist Americans struggling to pay their household bills. The infrastructure bill, with all its complexities, figures to lend a much-needed hand. Not to mention that it will repair crumbling roads, bridges and rail lines. We need ’em all to get from place to place … you know?

The only thing is that it ain’t pretty to watch taking shape.

Bipartisan deal is struck!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

They’re slapping themselves on the back, high-fiving each other all around and telling themselves that they’re all great statesmen and women.

Why the enthusiasm on Capitol Hill? They have announced the framework for a bipartisan infrastructure deal that now is going to endure an arduous amendment process before it’s voted on and sent to President Biden’s desk.

I haven’t read the details of the bill, but I want to make this brief observation.

President Biden’s immediate predecessor kept announcing that an infrastructure bill was coming; he never delivered. Why not? He didn’t know to legislate. He didn’t grasp the concept of working with legislators who had their own constituencies with whom they had to deal. We never saw an infrastructure package, even though POTUS 45 kept promising one would emerge.

He got tossed in the 2020 election. Then a new man moved in. Joe Biden is a man of the Senate, having served there for 36 years before becoming vice president in 2009.

President Biden knows many of the men and women in the Senate. He worked with them as senator and as VP. He knows how to legislate. He knows whose buttons to push and how to cajole compromise from senators.

Granted, it hasn’t always gone smoothly since he ascended to the presidency. He is dealing with GOP cultists who still adhere to the fantasy that POTUS 45 will get back into office.

However, a deal has been struck. I credit the president for rolling up his sleeves and working with the Senate — and the House of Reps — to get this deal done.

We have a president on duty who knows how to govern. 

‘RINOs are ruining America’? Yep, says No. 1 RINO

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The 45th POTUS issued a statement today that says, in part: “Now he’s giving Democrats everything they want and getting nothing in return,” he continued. “No deal is better than a bad deal. Fight for America, not for special interests and Radical Democrats. RINOs are ruining America, right alongside Communist Democrats.”

What drew the wrath of the former Numbskull in Chief? He doesn’t like the infrastructure deal brokered by Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell and President Biden.

Let’s focus briefly on the idea that “RINOs are ruining America … ”

Trump blows fuse over GOP moving forward on infrastructure deal | TheHill

You know what? He’s right. RINOs have co-opted a once-great political party, shaped it into a cult of personality, allowing the one-time commander in chief to say things such as what spewed forth today about the infrastructure deal.

The 45th POTUS isn’t a Republican. He’s a fraudulent con man who masqueraded as a GOP politician when he ran for president in 2016. He is a traitor to the nation he took an oath to protect. How is that? Because he incited the Jan. 6 riot, fomenting The Big Lie about the 2020 election being “stolen” from him.

An actual good-government Republican never — not in a zillion years — would have done the things that this moron did and continues to do.

So, yeah. He’s correct to blame the Republicans In Name Only for “ruining” the country. Indeed, he is one of them.

POTUS walks back a demand

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden had me, then he lost me. Then he got me back again.

Biden and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators hammered out a deal on an infrastructure plan. They marched out in front of reporters at the White House and declared “We have a deal.”

Then the president said this: “I expect that in the coming months this summer, before the fiscal year is over, that we will have voted on this bill, the infrastructure bill, as well as voted on the budget resolution. But if only one comes to me, this is the only one that comes to me, I’m not signing it. It’s in tandem.”

As the saying goes: Oops!

GOP senators accept Biden walk-back on infrastructure | TheHill

Biden signaled right then that he wanted a more expensive and expansive infrastructure deal that only Democrats could approve. He drew complaints from Republicans and from Democratic moderates who worked their tails off trying to hammer out this deal.

Then the president in effect took back what he said.

To which I say that’s a good thing for the cause of good government.

President Biden should take the deal worked out. It’s not as much as he and many others want to spend but, hey, a trillion dollars-plus is still a lot of dough.

As for Biden’s walk-back, his change of tune has satisfied at least two members of the GOP negotiating team — Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Rob Portman of Ohio. They both said they “trust” the president and are going to work to ensure that the infrastructure deal upon which they agreed gets through Congress and lands on Biden’s desk.

Americans want their bridges, highways and rail lines to be safe for human activity. They want their seaports and airports to be modernized and made safe for travel. The Internet has become an increasing part of Americans’ lives and they want high-speed Internet service. The infrastructure deal is widely popular among Americans.

The deal worked out by members of both major parties signals the kind of cooperation, camaraderie and common good the president said once was a hallmark of his days as a senator and even as vice president.

He should take this deal all by itself. As for the rest of it, fight that fight another day.

See? Compromise works!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

“We have a deal.”

So said President Biden today as he announced a bipartisan agreement to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure.

Now … is this the perfect deal? No. It isn’t. It is the product of Democrats and Republicans coming together, demanding things from the other side, then deciding that absent being able to get all the things they wanted in the deal agreed to a package that is a good bit less than what President Biden wanted to spend.

This is how government is supposed to work.

Fascinating! As The Hill reported: Biden acknowledged the deal would not include proposals he’s made for spending to help American families, but firmly endorsed the deal on infrastructure in unusual remarks just outside the White House with the bipartisan group of senators looking on.

The deal agreed upon would spend $1 trillion. It would repair thousands of miles of roads and bridges, provide high-speed Internet to virtually every home in the country.

More from The Hill: The framework includes $579 billion in new spending for a total of $973 billion over five years and just over $1.2 trillion over eight years.

It allocates $312 billion for transportation programs, including roads, bridges, airports and electric vehicles infrastructure. The remaining $266 billion would go to water infrastructure, broadband, environmental remediation, power infrastructure and other areas. 

Biden announces bipartisan deal on infrastructure | TheHill

The deal announced today strikes me as a classic ploy that President Biden played with perfect pitch. He wanted to spend $2.2 trillion — or so he said. Biden might have known from the get-go he wouldn’t persuade GOP members of Congress to agree to spending that kind of dough. So he settled on a still-significant amount of money.

He said he didn’t get all he wanted. Conservatives in Congress didn’t, either. Nor did their progressive friends.

However, the negotiating team of equal numbers of congressional Republicans and Democrats were all smiles today as they announced the framework of a deal.

Let’s get it done. Shall we?

Compromise fuels good government

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The older I get the more I believe in compromise and the less weight I place on the value of long-standing ideology.

Which is my way of suggesting that the haggling that’s occurring over (a) voting rights legislation and (b) infrastructure legislation is a sign of good government trying to find its way into law.

Congress is wrestling with itself over both of those notions. Republicans seem wedded to the “just say ‘no'” theory of government. Anything that comes from the Democratic president, Joseph R. Biden, is deemed DOA the moment it leaves his mouth.

Biden has long prided himself on being able to work with the GOP. He did so with great effect while serving for 36 years as a U.S. senator and then as eight years as vice president. Now, though, he is deemed the enemy of the GOP, even among his once-good friends … such as Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Mitch McConnell. Oh well.

He threw a $2.25 trillion infrastructure package at the GOP. He apparently is willing to settle for a lot less than that. Still, most of the Rs ain’t budging. At least not yet.

As for voting rights, the GOP now has taken up the “states’ rights” mantra, contending that the feds shouldn’t interfere with states’ ability to write their own voting rules. Except that the Republican-led states, such as Texas, are seeking to disenfranchise millions of Americans who, as luck would have it, happen to vote mostly Democrat when they get the chance.

The GOP’s other mantra? Voter security, as if there was a huge breach in that security in the 2020 presidential election. Spoiler alert: There wasn’t any such breach!

But the two sides are slogging through an effort to find some level of compromise.

I am a good-government progressive. I am not wedded so much these days to ideology as I am to seeing government work. I want my federal government to work, to serve me and my family; we are paying the freight, along with you.

Stay busy, ladies and gentlemen who serve in government. We demand you find a way to compromise. Or else!

Go it alone, Mr. President

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If you put a gun to my noggin and forced me to make a prediction, I am likely to say that President Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress are on their own if they want to enact an infrastructure improvement package.

Biden is trying like the dickens to get Republicans to sign on. He is coming up empty.

The president has pitched a $2.25 trillion package. Republicans want to spend a lot less. Biden wants it to include job creation, climate change remedies and assistance to families. The GOP wants more emphasis on roads, bridges, airports, seaports.

They remain far apart.

Biden has been meeting with GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. They remain deadlocked.

Oh, what to do. I guess it well might fall on President Biden and Democrats in both congressional chambers to go it alone. Hey, they did it already with the COVID stimulus/relief package that Republicans resisted, only to then take credit for some of the programs it helped salvage.

Ayeee. It’s frustrating for those of us who want to see government work. We watch the president and congressional Democrats seeking to put government to work for us instead of against us. Then we watch Republicans dig in, resisting this and that, claiming that Democrats are playing “politics” with things such as, oh, the Jan. 6 commission that would find answers and solutions to the horrifying insurrection.

It occurs to me that Biden well might have offered a high-end proposal infrastructure knowing that Republicans would low-ball a counter-offer. Could it be that President Biden is aiming toward something in the middle, which is where he intended for this discussion to go?

That’s how you negotiate. If not, then I hope he and Democrats are ready to take off without their GOP friends.

Bipartisan solution still MIA

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden had the congressional Republican caucus in his hands … then he lost them.

Or has he?

Biden has this massive infrastructure package on the table. He is seeking some Republican buy-in.

The president talks a good game. He wants his GOP pals to join him and his fellow Democrats to join in the effort to fix roads, bridges and ports while also protecting families.

I had high hopes he could persuade what’s left of the GOP moderate mini-caucus to sign on. Those hopes are fading with the likes of Sen. Susan Collins of Maine suggesting that Republicans aren’t likely to spend so much money.

President Biden has a lot of experience working across the aisle with Republicans. He contends he has many friends on the other side; they speak kindly of him, too. Those Republicans, though, face pressure of another kind. They do not want to offend the still-significant number of their constituents who remain wedded to the Big Lie promoted by Donald J. Trump … you know the one about the “theft” of the 2020 election by voters who cast illegal ballots. Well, they didn’t steal anything. The only theft I can see is the pilfering of politicians’ honor and integrity.

It is carrying over into President Biden’s desire to achieve something close to a bipartisan solution to this infrastructure package.

I won’t give up hope that the president can deploy his vast knowledge of the political system to benefit millions of Americans who desire to see government work for them.