Rich Lowry writes at some length urging Republicans abandon the infrastructure deal. He argues that Republicans “have nothing to gain by blessing a portion of President Joe Biden’s spending plans, when an ungodly amount of money is going to go out the door regardless of whether they vote for a chunk of it or not.”
Yesterday I linked to and wrote about Marc Thiessen’s Washington Post column supporting the deal in “Compromise, GOP style.” AEI has posted Thiessen’s column here. Lowry’s column contrasts usefully with Thiessen’s for those of us trying to figure out what’s going on here.
Thiessen himself describes what sounds like an illusory deal for the GOP. Lowry hammers this point. Thiessen further argues that the deal has thrown the Democrats into disarray.
Substantively, Thiessen argues that the deal offers “Republicans something to vote for, without violating their core principles.” This is probably Thiessen’s most telling point: “Now they can vote for all the popular elements of an infrastructure package without any of Biden’s non-infrastructure spending or tax increases.”
However, Lowry argues that the deal eases the path to Democrats’ attaining the whole shebang and therefore undermining Republicans’ core principles (to borrow Thiessen’s frame of reference): “By allowing Democrats to cleave off some of their spending into a bipartisan deal, the overall number for the reconciliation bill gets smaller. In other words, the bipartisan deal could make the partisan reconciliation easier rather than harder to pass. If this is true, the deal is bipartisanship in the service of a partisan end.”
These two columns raise an important question. Together they may help you think you think through the answer for yourself.