Republican senators may have voted in lockstep against Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, but they still played a role.
A year ago, Senators voted 96-0 in favor of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), also also a $2 trillion package. Alongside the earlier Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the CARES Act planted seeds that made the later legislative expansions of 2020 and the American Rescue Plan all but inevitable.
Six trillion dollars and several prior bipartisan packages into the health and economic crisis, the March 2021 Biden American Rescue Plan is less a plan than a realization. The New Yorker just called the Biden ARP “the most economically liberal legislation in decades.”
Biden is banking on the popularity of the new government programs contained in or extended by the ARP bringing sufficient pressure to bear later this year to make them permanent. That’s a political trap for Republicans who’ve already voted “yes” on the underlying premises.
To carry out the crisis-response plan, Biden just selected Clinton and Obama advisor Gene Sperling. Last May on MSNBC, Sperling remarked on the crisis-induced wave of unemployment:
“And the question for us is going to be not just do we have [an] essential workers bill of rights . . . but whether this is going to make us rethink our economic compact, whether we`re going to have a greater economic dignity compact and have a new, new deal. . . . And I think if this moment doesn`t push us towards that, I don`t know what will.”
A substantial follow-up “Build Back Better” package will be unveiled by the administration soon, likely to entail $4 trillion in infrastructure spending and more.
In the wake of passage of Biden’s ARP, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement calling it a classic example of big government Democratic overreach.
Yet, this was the same McConnell who boasted a year ago upon crisis outbreak that “Our nation needed us to go big, and go fast, and [the Senate] did.” Even then-president Donald Trump, seeing himself as a “wartime president” in March 2020, proclaimed “people want to go big …everybody seems to want to go big.
Read the full article at Forbes.