The Democrats’ Trojan horse is inside the White House gates and wasting no time.
President Biden, who campaigned as a no-drama moderate Democrat, has embarked on a sweeping far-left agenda of massive tax increases, climate-change mandates and more red tape.
In less than three months, Mr. Biden has rammed through Congress a nearly $2 trillion economic relief bill with no Republican support. Now he’s teeing up an infrastructure and jobs plan that would cost upwards of $3 trillion and implement another wish list of unfulfilled longtime Democratic priorities.
Beyond the spending, tax and regulatory actions, Mr. Biden is pushing a broad expansion of the social safety net and entitlements on a level not seen since the 1960s.
“What I see are the fingerprints of Bernie Sanders and AOC on almost every policy that comes from the White House,” said Sen. Bill Hagerty, Tennessee Republican, referring to the socialist senator from Vermont and liberal Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. “It’s tragic that America was misled in the way that the Biden-Harris campaign misled them.”
Mr. Hagerty said in an interview, “If America had known the policies that Biden was going to implement and compared those policies to President Trump’s policies, there’s no way Biden would be sitting in the Oval Office right now.”
The president’s proposal for fixing roads and bridges contains $400 billion for home health care, redefining caregiving as an essential part of the nation’s infrastructure.
It also would spend $213 billion on affordable housing, including language that would “eliminate exclusionary zoning and harmful land use policies.” The White House said exclusionary zoning laws such as minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking requirements, and prohibitions on multifamily housing “have inflated housing and construction costs and locked families out of areas with more opportunities.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the GOP won’t support the infrastructure plan or Mr. Biden’s proposed tax increases, including a hike in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.
“It’s called infrastructure, but inside the Trojan horse it’s going to be more borrowed money and massive tax increases on all the productive parts of our economy,” Mr. McConnell said last week.
Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity and a former GOP campaign strategist, said Mr. Biden’s brushing aside of Republican lawmakers is “deeply disappointing.” He said longtime Republican senators who worked alongside Mr. Biden in the Senate, such as Mr. McConnell, Sens. Susan M. Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, came into this year with an expectation that they could find common ground with the president in some areas.
“They go back, in some cases, decades with President Biden, literally decades, they know each other well,” Mr. Phillips said in an interview. “There was the feeling that, given the long-term relationships, perhaps they could find areas of agreement that were not so polarizing. And that just hasn’t happened.”
Mr. Biden said on Friday that he will reach out to Republican lawmakers this week on his infrastructure proposal.
“Debate is welcome, compromise is inevitable, changes in my plan are certain, but inaction is not an option,” Mr. Biden said at the White House.
The president said Republican voters want his next big spending plan, even if elected Republicans don’t.
“If the Republicans argue that we don’t need infrastructure … I think Republican voters are going to have a lot to say about it,” Mr. Biden said.
The president is right, but he might not like what those voters have to say about him personally.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday found that while 79% of Americans support a government overhaul of roads and bridges, only 45% said they would support a jobs and infrastructure plan that was “recently released by the Biden administration.”
Only 2 in 10 Republicans, and 3 in 10 independents, said they support a Biden infrastructure plan. The survey found that 7 in 10 Democrats support it.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr. Biden doesn’t believe infrastructure “is a political issue.”
“We don’t see it as a politically charged package, or a partisan package,” she said. “I think what our focus is going to be on is continuing to communicate the different components of this package and how it’s going to specifically help the American people.”
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment on the charge that Mr. Biden has engaged in a bait-and-switch between centrist campaign promises and far-left governing. During the campaign last summer, Mr. Trump warned that Mr. Biden would be an empty vessel for the leftist wing of his party.
Many Democrats view their narrow majority in the House and their one-vote majority in the Senate as a fleeting opportunity to pass whatever legislation they can, as opposed to an incentive to reach across the aisle. Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich called it a “tiny window of opportunity,” noting that Democrats have controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress in only four of the past 28 years.
“So be bold, damn it,” he tweeted.
Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah Republican, tweeted that Mr. Biden “should live up to the bipartisanship he preached in his inaugural address.”
Mr. Hagerty said the Democrats’ election-overhaul bill, which would set national standards such as barring states from requiring voter ID, startled even some Senate Democrats with its partisan provisions when the House-passed bill reached the Senate Rules Committee.
“When some of them heard the fact that this would allow illegal immigrants to be registered to vote, they were shocked,” Mr. Hagerty said. “If you are an illegal immigrant, many states allow you to have a driver’s license. This bill would automatically enlist you — if you get a driver’s license, they would automatically enroll you to vote. This may be one of the biggest back doors for the voting of illegal immigrants in America. And if you look at what’s happening at the border right now, [Biden officials] are doing everything they can to encourage chaos at the border.”
In discussions with constituents, Mr. Hagerty said, voters in Tennessee feel duped by Mr. Biden.
“Everyone I talked with feels like this couldn’t possibly be coming from the candidate that they saw running in 2020, and several people have asked me who’s behind it, who’s actually setting the policies,” Mr. Hagerty said. “It feels to people here in Tennessee that Bernie Sanders and AOC are driving this, because of their influence on this administration, or on the Democrats in the Senate. The feeling is that this was a Trojan horse election, that Biden came in under the guise of being a moderate and has ceded all control to the staff and a set of policymakers that are pushing for extraordinarily radical policies that the majority of the America would never approve.”
Mr. Phillips, of AFP, said the president’s partisan moves are breathtaking particularly because the divisions in Congress, and in the country, are “razor close.” He said he hasn’t found widespread support for the president’s agenda on recent visits to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
“There is no broad mandate, not for any of this,” he said. “And I think that’s reflected in the fact that they’re having to hide it under a pandemic — much of it is cloaked in that.
“You don’t see leakage in Texas from local Republicans clamoring for this. I was in Houston, in Dallas. I don’t I don’t see any kind of broad-scale, or even small scale, Republican support for this.”