A group of nine Senate Republicans on Friday warned they won’t support a bipartisan infrastructure plan, warning it "enables" Democrats to pass a larger $3.5 trillion spending package.
In a statement, GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rick Scott of Florida, Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming said the national debt won’t support the Biden administration plans for both infrastructure and social programs.
"Our nation is nearing $30 trillion in debt. There is a day of reckoning if we don't get our fiscal house in order," they warned.
"We appreciate our colleagues' efforts to get a bipartisan deal done. But supporting this infrastructure deal enables the Democrats to pass their $3.5 trillion spending package," the group asserted. "[President] Joe Biden said it himself: These two issues are welded together."
Democrats have discussed moving on two tracks, a $1.2 trillion bipartisan package and then following up by pushing through a second spending measure for healthcare and child care using a process called reconciliation, which bypasses Senate rules requiring 60 votes to advance most legislation in the 100-seat chamber, Reuters reported.
"Everyone agrees America needs to invest in infrastructure. But with our national debt growing out of control and Democrats dedicated to passing a 100% partisan blowout spending package totaling $3.5 trillion, we cannot support any additional deficit spending on Joe Biden's, [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi's, [New York Democratic Rep.] Chuck Schumer's and [Vermont Independent Rep.] Bernie Sanders' liberal wish list," the senators wrote.
"We can pay for needed infrastructure without incurring additional debt by instead repurposing previously appropriated but unspent funds.
"We urge our colleagues to support an alternative approach and recognize that supporting an infrastructure bill that authorizes new spending also enables the Democrats' $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend budget," they concluded. "We must stop mortgaging our children's and grandchildren's futures."
Schumer said he was scheduling a procedural vote for next Wednesday to begin debate on a still-evolving bipartisan infrastructure bill. Senators from both parties, bargaining for weeks, have struggled to reach final agreement on a $1 trillion package of highway, water systems and other public works projects.
Schumer said he also wanted Democrat senators to reach agreement among themselves by then on specific details of a separate 10-year budget blueprint that envisions $3.5 trillion in spending for climate change, education, an expansion of Medicare, and more.
"The time has come to make progress. And we will. We must," Schumer said on the Senate floor.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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