OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
President Joe Biden was savaged — again — on social media after making a patently false claim about his predecessor, Donald Trump, during the former president’s time in office.
During a speech in front of union members over the Labor Day holiday, Biden claimed that during Trump’s tenure, he “didn’t build a damned thing” while touting his record of signing massive infrastructure spending bills into law, which, some economists have claimed, made inflation worse.
“Guess what? Guess what? The great real estate builder, the last guy here, he didn’t build a damn thing,” Biden told the Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 members at their union hall in Philadelphia.
“Under my predecessor, ‘Infrastructure Week’ became a punchline,” he continued. “On my watch, infrastructure is being a decade and it’s a headline.”
He went on to claim that “we’re investing in America — in our roads, bridges, ports, airports, clean water, high-speed internet and so much more.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy countered in April 2021 that the first massive spending bill of more than $1 trillion only allotted 6 percent of the amount to actual infrastructure.
Not an April Fools joke: President Biden’s so-called “infrastructure” plan spends less than 6% to repair bridges, highways, and roads. pic.twitter.com/Dx64xMELGb
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) April 2, 2021
All said, however, in addition to building hundreds of miles of border wall, spending bills signed into law by then-President Trump included federal money for all kinds of infrastructure throughout the 50 states.
Not all Democrats have been on board Biden’s massive spending plans.
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema were not budging on Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending package he attempted to jam through in the fall of 2021. According to Politico, Manchin and Sinema had back-to-back meetings with Biden at the time, and they apparently did not go well.
“During a private meeting with the president, Sinema made clear she’s still not on board with the party’s $3.5 trillion social spending plan and is hesitant to engage on some specifics until the bipartisan infrastructure package passes the House,” Politico reported.
“This is the third time she said she has told the president, ‘I’m not there,’” a person familiar with the talks between Sinema and Biden told Politico.
Sinema reportedly told Biden: “I’ve been very clear with you from the start.”
Politico noted further:
Sinema and Manchin’s approach to the negotiations has frozen Biden’s jobs and families plan and potentially may lead to a high-profile failure of a bipartisan infrastructure bill on the House floor as progressives threaten rebellion. But without more details from the moderate duo, any hope of a bicameral agreement on Biden’s agenda is a pipe dream.
Manchin and Sinema met with Biden separately Tuesday, the second time in less than a week that they paid a visit to the White House to lay out their concerns and haggle with the president over reducing Democrats’ plans to spend $3.5 trillion. Sinema also returned to the White House twice more to hash out details with staff as Manchin huddled separately with Biden for more than an hour.
Democrats expressed angst over their holdouts.
“What I know is that the longer these debates hang out there the easier it is for the opposition to mislabel and twist what we’re trying to do. If we’re going to come to an agreement it would behoove us to do it sooner rather than later so that we can go out and start explaining it to people,” Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy said.
“I’m worried my colleagues are going to shoot themselves in the foot. We should find a solid number and move on,” said one Senate Democrat, who spoke under condition of anonymity to Politico.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin is also complaining: “We’re reaching a point where we need to bring this to closure. I think that’s obvious. We have four major challenges on us at once: Funding the government, dealing with the debt ceiling, bipartisan infrastructure bill, and reconciliation. That’s a big agenda. I think a breakthrough on one of those will help.”