As Democrats prepare to try to pass President Joe Biden multi-trillion dollar spending bill, left-wing Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said on Thursday that the $3.5 trillion piece of legislation will cost nothing “because we’re going to actually tax corporations and the wealthiest individuals to pay for those things.”
Jayapal spoke to National Public Radio (NPR) about the division in the Democrat Party about whether the House should pass the $1.5 infrastructure bill already approved by the Senate before it votes on the $3.5 trillion spending bill that will install the left’s bucket list, including free community college, child care, climate change “action,” and other “human infrastructure.”
Taxpayer-funded NPR asked Jayapal about the divide:
The most dramatic debate over President Biden’s agenda in Congress is within his own party. Some Republicans … have signed onto part of that agenda. Just enough Republican senators support an infrastructure bill that the president wants. Republicans are almost unanimous against just about everything else, including a second, much larger budget resolution that touches on many issues. That means that Democrats need virtually all of their own party to vote yes. But Democrats don’t agree. Moderates want less money, and progressives want more, to put it simply.
Jayapal insisted the divide is not wide and that she is hopeful for the outcome on the bill. Jayapal said:
There are just a few who are insisting that they want the infrastructure bill to pass first. And if they do that, if we allow that to happen, then the rest of the agenda will never get done. It has always been let’s do them both together. So that’s where we are right now. We need a little bit more time. But I’m optimistic that we’re going to get it done.
NPR’s Steve Inskeep said:
I want to just clarify this for people. We’ve discussed it a little bit on the air before. But it’s about a matter that, to the layman, might seem not to be really that important. You would like to do the big bill first and the smaller, more bipartisan bill second. Moderates want to do the smaller bill first and the big one second. I feel that you’re essentially saying you don’t trust moderate Democrats to go along with the big bill if they get the small one first. Is it that you don’t trust your colleagues?
Well, I do think that there’s a lack of trust on all sides. But I just want to remind listeners that the original deal when the Senate passed the infrastructure bill was that every Democratic senator would vote for that on the condition that the reconciliation bill passes first because it is a bigger bill. It has all of the big priorities in it that I mentioned. And so for the House to be able to move the reconciliation bill first is really important because otherwise, you know how it goes. If we get the infrastructure bill done, the pressure gets taken off. And we’ll never be able to deliver child care, paid leave, everything else, to the American people. That was the promise that the president made and that we all campaigned on. And so that’s why we want to stick to the agreement that was made out of the Senate, which is both bills together. And that means we’ve got to get the reconciliation bill done.
Inskeep then asked Jayapal about the high cost of the $3.5 trillion bill. She replied:
The first thing I would say is, it’s actually not – whatever the number is, it’s not that number because we’re paying for the whole thing. And so you could say it’s a $0 bill because we’re going to actually tax corporations and the wealthiest individuals to pay for those things.
Jayapal said it is essential to put Biden’s agenda in place and every Democrat should make sure that happens.
“I think it’s absolutely unthinkable to vote no on the president’s agenda, and that’s the Build Back Better Act,” Jayapal said. “And that’s why we’re saying, let’s get this done. We need a couple – a little bit more time, just maybe two weeks, three weeks. But we can do this. And we can show that we, as the Democratic Party, can deliver for the people when they gave us the House, the Senate and the White House based on a set of promises we made.”
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter or send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.