Biden: climate programs must have ‘pay-fors’ but combat can be funded by the deficit

Speaking Security Newsletter | Advisory Note for Organizers and Candidates, n°92 | 5 July 2021

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Biden’s infrastructure plan—post-bipartisan agreement—proposes $579 billion in new spending. You might’ve heard a $973 billion-over-five-years or $1.2 trillion-over-eight-years deal reported. Those figures include the $579 billion in new spending plus the mandatory transportation funding that Congress is expected to renew anyway (Dept. of Transportation funding is weird—most of it’s taken from trust funds and not the Treasury like other federal agencies).

The reason you’re hearing about this ‘baseline’ funding just now (or within recent weeks) is probably because Biden’s original plan called for $2.25 trillion in new spending, and adding that baseline amount in there obfuscates just how far Biden negotiated down: Republicans’ initial offer was $257 billion in new spending, meaning that the bipartisan agreement is $322 billion more than Republicans proposed and $1.7 trillion lower than Biden proposed. Yikes.

Biden’s selective deficit dogmatism

A $1.7 trillion drop in the American Jobs Plan wouldn’t be as catastrophic had Biden not set its starting value as low as he did ($2.25 trillion). Because he wanted it completely ‘paid for’—through taxes and other means—he effectively cut down his own infrastructure plan before Republicans had a chance to do so themselves.

This is radically irresponsible considering that it’s the climate crisis we’re talking about, here. It’s also hypocritical: Biden never sought a ‘pay for’ with any of the wars of choice that occurred while holding public office—he’s been fine with them being put on the company credit card (so to speak):

Thanks for your time,

Stephen (@stephensemler;

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