WASHINGTON, D.C. (Network Indiana) — President Biden has cut off talks with Republicans on the infrastructure bill. He’s now talking only to centrist Republicans to cut a deal. Congressman Jim Banks (R), of Indiana, explained the Republican viewpoint to IndyPolitics, and says Democratic policies are putting the country’s economy at risk.
“We’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars would go to fund pet projects for Democrats in Democrat cities and states across the country that aren’t what you and I would call infrastructure,” said Banks.
But, it’s not just the definition, which has been a hang-up for many Republicans. The original price proposed by Democrats was $1.9 trillion. Republicans want something much less expensive. Biden had been willing to talk about that, but cut talks off abruptly, now dealing only with Republicans who are willing to give more.
“I think Republicans support some kind of an infrastructure deal that would improve roads and bridges and would invest in levees and even aiprorts and what we would think of when it comes to infrastructure,” said Banks. But, he said he believes Democrat versions of the bill include what he calls “Green New Deal” initiatives, that he says are radical and written by environmentalists.
For Banks, that’s a no go.
“Some Republicans in the Senate have tried to offer compromise measures that have been non-starters,” he said.
Banks said he supports broadband and does believe it fits the definition of infrastructure, but is curious whay it wasn’t included more in some of the COVID relief packages, like the “Cares Act”.
He also criticized the president’s economic policies, which he believes will bring more inflation.
“The jobs reports numbers that have come out the past couple of months have been far off the mark,” he said. “So, we’re not creating the new jobs that we need and we have workers that are staying home.”
He blamed that on the extra federal unemployment benefits, which have now been stopped in Indiana and some other Republican-led states.
“If we’re not growing the economy and creating more good-paying jobs, we’re not raising everybody even further up the rungs of the ladder,” he said. Banks described Democrat policies as “crippling” to the economy.