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Here Are Just Some of the Ridiculously Wasteful Items in the Enormous 'Infrastructure' Bill

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On Sunday night, a bipartisan group of senators bequeathed us with a $550 billion infrastructure spending bill. And this was supposed to be the slimmed-down version.

Sure, we should have been alarmed at the fact that the full, bloated bill clocks in at 2,702 pages, the result of weeks of work between those bipartisan legislators and President Joe Biden’s administration.

Not that we’ll have much chance to read through it: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to act quickly to get the legislation passed.

“Given how bipartisan the bill is and how much work has already been put in to get the details right, I believe the Senate can quickly process relevant amendments to pass this bill in a matter of days,” Schumer said Sunday night, according to ABC News.

And yeah, there was also the troubling specter that this “compromise” wasn’t really a compromise at all: Democrats want to put all of the exceptionally questionable “infrastructure” spending that was in the original bill — health care, universal pre-K, housing programs — into a $3.trillion spending bill that the party wants to pass along budget reconciliation lines.

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That means the Dems will only need 50 votes to get what they wanted in the first place, and as long as they’re able to wrangle their entire caucus into voting for it, the compromise bill was all just a big dog-and-pony show.

(In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Biden administration were currently working on a draft spending bill that would classify dogs, ponies and associated shows involving them as infrastructure spending.)

But, a bipartisan bill! For the first time in ages! It’s a sign that Washington can still work the way it used to, the way Joe Biden promised us it could, right?

Is the infrastructure bill a waste of money?

Well, yes, it is– and that’s part of the problem, as one government spending watchdog noted in a Twitter thread Monday, a day after the massive bill was released to the public.

Oilfield Rando (I’m guessing that’s a pseudonym) uses his Twitter account and website to catalog out-of-control spending. Even though the infrastructure bill is a long one, he didn’t have to look hard.

For instance, on page 456, there was $250 million to deal with invasive plants:

The $250 million will go toward “a program to provide grants to States to eliminate or control existing invasive plants or prevent introduction of or encroachment by new invasive plants along and in areas adjacent to transportation corridor rights-of-way.”

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See, infrastructure!

The program covers flora defined as “a nonnative plant, tree, grass, or weed species including, at a minimum, cheatgrass, Ventenata dubia, medusahead, bulbous bluegrass, Japanese brome, rattail fescue, Japanese honey-suckle, phragmites, autumn olive, Bradford pear, wild parsnip, sericea lespedeza, spotted knapweed, garlic mustard, and palmer amaranth.”

(I hear the GOP was really pushing hard to keep the rattail fescue out of the bipartisan bill, so this is a big win for the Biden administration.)

You’ll also be happy to know that the tax dollars legislators will be spending on the infrastructure bill will go, in part, to studies on how to get more tax dollars from you.

Anyone for paying road taxes by the mile?

Also, know what else counts as infrastructure? “Wildlife-vehicle collision research.”

Oilfield Rando had particular contempt for “$50 million for ten ‘Transportation Resilience and Adaptation Centers of Excellence’, which will do climate change reports and engage ‘disadvantaged communities.'”

Also, we’re going to be updating Amtrak service in Canada:

And, as much as human trafficking is a serious issue that should concern every American, it’s not infrastructure by any normal understanding of the word.

It’s worth noting, too, that the one infrastructure project that would have done the most to combat human trafficking — a physical border wall between the United States and Mexico — was torpedoed by the Biden administration.

And so it goes. We have outlays to look at advancing gender equity in trucking (“women are significantly underrepresented in the trucking industry holding only 24 percent of all transportation and warehousing jobs and representing only … 6.6 percent of truck drivers … 12.5 percent of all workers in truck transportation; and … 8 percent of freight firm owners”) and limousine safety:

Breathalyzers in cars and studies about driving while stoned: Infrastructure.

There’s $5 billion for low/zero emissions school buses and $250 million for electric ferries:

And in case you’d forgotten about why conservatives hated earmarks — the recently resurrected practice of designating money in large bills to go to certain districts or states in order to get the support of certain legislators — let the infrastructure compromise serve as a reminder:

Surprisingly — and sadly — this isn’t the entire thread. It’s certainly the lowlights, however, of a bill that was supposed to assure conservatives our GOP establishment overlords are keeping the Democrats honest and injecting some modicum of fiscal continence.

Instead, what we got was full-on swamp. I’m almost shocked they didn’t bring back former House Speaker John Boehner — the patron saint of bipartisan political cupidity —  to unveil the monstrosity.

I’d almost have a modicum of respect for that kind of honesty.

In the past year, we’ve spent too much too quickly on too many things that provide too little value to American taxpayers.

The ruinous effects of the Democrats’ splurge are so obvious it feels wasteful to belabor it.

When the Republicans sign on to old-school pork-barrel profligacy like this, however. it should serve as a reminder that the rot in GOP usually begins in two places: At the top and in the middle.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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