Biden in Lake Chas

President Joe Biden made a pitch Thursday for his $2 trillion infrastructure bill, called the American Jobs Act. He used the 70-year-old Interstate 10 bridge over the Calcasieu River as a backdrop, suggesting the bridge could be replaced if the plan is passed.

Progressive zealots followed a female Democratic U.S. Senator into the women’s restroom to try to intimidate her into voting for President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better legislation.

Only time will tell if this type of behavior works on Democrats.

Republican members of the Louisiana congressional delegation who are opposed to Biden’s ill-conceived, poorly-timed, bloated welfare hoax won’t be converted by intimidation in the bathroom or anywhere else. Threats or attempting to deceive people who want better roads, bridges, and ports by making them swallow $1.2 trillion dollars of “infrastructure” plus $3.5 trillion dollars of “reconciliation” won’t get Louisiana’s Republican delegation votes because they see the plan's major flaws.

According to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, only 17.6% of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill goes toward roads, bridges and ports which most Americans generally consider “infrastructure.”

Funding for coastal restoration, levee construction, and flood mitigation projects through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be awarded through a competitive grant process among 49 other states, Washington, D.C., and the territories, which means splitting the money 56 ways.

To make matters worse, Biden made clear through his fiscal 2022 budget earlier this year that he is directing the Corps not to fund any project that benefits or lowers the cost of gasoline, oil, or natural gas. That has a direct negative impact on funding for Louisiana projects.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has strongly opposed the Clean Electricity Performance Program included in the reconciliation package. Over one million Louisiana residents are served by a co-op. This new program will jeopardize a co-op’s ability to provide low-cost, reliable electricity to customers.

If Biden wants to get beyond the lemmings supporting his Build Back Better programs, Congress should have public debate and testimony in committee hearings, the old-fashioned way of convincing members and the public.

Trying to mislead the public by making up new catchphrases like “human infrastructure” for welfare programs won’t work. Progressives use undefined new terms they create, and the media reports give them life. If the fools in Washington accept it, new terms will define whatever the progressives want it to mean, and then fund whatever they want it to authorize.

Remember “enhanced federal unemployment benefits?” A new term never heard of before 2020. Congress funded it and wrecked state and national economies.

Louisiana’s congressional members know that once new giveaway programs are funded, no future Congress will get rid of them. Our children’s children’s children will be stuck paying because poorly performing programs rarely get terminated.

Based on an estimate from the House Budget Committee, every U.S. household will incur an extra $22,000 in debt over the next 10 years. ($2.8 trillion is the amount added to debt over the next 10 years from both infrastructure + reconciliation, divided by 128 million households according to the 2020 census.)

Congress has always had a hard time admitting their ideas haven’t worked. Besides, getting rid of obsolete programs isn’t fun and creates enemies, so few members focus on it. Failed programs don’t disappear; they keep piling up.

On the other hand, the Medicare and Social Security programs that citizens paid into and trusted the government to maintain will go bankrupt in 2026 and 2034, respectively.

By adding additional people covered by the Medicare program, Democrats are speeding up insolvency of the Medicare trust funds. When the hospital trust fund becomes insolvent in five years, there may be a cut to Medicare payments because the fund will not be able to pay all expenses.

A 10% payment cut is expected and will hurt 62 million seniors and their access to services. Congress should be shoring up Medicare, not diluting it, putting seniors' benefits in jeopardy.

Louisiana’s congressional delegation has received many questions from constituents about how the increased taxes and trillions in spending will affect their jobs and ability to provide for their families. These multi-trillion-dollar deals should not be rushed through Congress without giving the American people a chance to learn about what it means for their families — since, ultimately, they will pay for it.

The fact that there wasn’t a single legislative hearing to allow members to ask questions on behalf of constituents is unacceptable, especially considering the unprecedented size of the package.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pushed the vote on Biden’s legislation back a month, to Oct. 30.

That’s enough time to hold public committee hearings on the $1.2 trillion plus $3.5 trillion of stuff if they really want us to understand why those voluminous bills are in our best interests.

Email Garey Forster at Garey.Forster@gmail.com.

Our Views: When it comes to rebuilding America, Bill Cassidy takes Louisiana's corner


Garey Forster is former chairman of the Labor and Industry Committee in the Louisiana House of Representatives and a former Louisiana Secretary of Labor. His column runs weekly. Email him at Garey.Forster@gmail.com.