Rep. Welch on Shrinking $3.5T Bill: 'We Can Get Those Programs Started'

By Susan Jones | October 7, 2021 | 5:09am EDT
Leftist Democrats, led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-C0rtez and Ed Markey, re-introduce their green new deal on April 20, 2021. Much of their plan is now rolled into the Democrats' $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Leftist Democrats, led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-C0rtez and Ed Markey, re-introduce their green new deal on April 20, 2021. Much of their plan is now rolled into the Democrats' $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - President Biden and most of his fellow Democrats admit they will have to reduce the cost of their $3.5 trillion "human" infrastructure bill, which contains most of their big government agenda.

That agenda would make millions more Americans dependent on government programs or ruled by government regulations. The bill contains everything from the green new deal to subsidized child care, elder care, paid family leave, mortgage assistance, four additional years of public education, and tax hikes to (supposedly) pay for all of it.

"I would be willing to bring the number down," Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), a member of the House Progressive Caucus, told CNN on Wednesday.

The important thing, he said, is to get the new entitlement and climate programs started. So instead of paying for those programs over ten years, the time frame could be scaled back, and that's probably how things will go.

"In our meeting with the president, he's totally committed to the policies," Welch said:

And he wants to focus on the policies. And he's totally realistic that the price tag is going to have to come down because of the resistance of Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema.

But bottom line, if we're able to do things in climate, which are very popular with Republicans and Democrats across the country, if we're able to do things that will help families with child care, with family leave, with pre-K education, we might not be able to do it for as many years.

We can shrink the years but we can get those programs started. So I think that's a path forward and there's broad support among our caucus. Unfortunately, we need unanimous support in the Senate; and every Democrat, except three, in the House.

The massive spending program, even at $3.5 trillion, over the next 10 years, the gross domestic product in our country is $282 trillion. You put it in that context and it gives you a different picture, that this is something we can afford to do.

Even if Democrats reduce the length of time for funding the new programs, "some hard decisions" will still have to be made, Welch said.

So I think at the end of the day we're going to try to do things that has a immediate a benefit for American families as possible -- do that perhaps in a shorter period of time -- and with the confidence that, if people get accustomed to the tax reduction for working families, where the child gets a $300 credit each month, or where there is affordable and accessible child care or when a loved one gets sick, you can take family leave with some help from the federal government, we think those will be popular.

And actually, I think those are really good for a family, whether that family voted for Trump or whether that family voted for Biden. Families need that. So we think that the success of the programs will be, once they're implemented, people will support them.

Once started, it is politically unpopular to take away government-funded goodies.

As conservative talk show host Mark Levin said last week, even if Democrats agree to lower the bill's cost to gain the necessary Manchin-Sinema votes for passage, the result will be the same: an expanded entitlement economy and more dependence on (and dictates from) big government:

"I think they'll agree (Democrats) to lower the amount, but they will still have all this stuff in this 2,500-page bill -- so that they can enshrine and put in place these things," Levin told Fox News. "This bill needs to be killed," he said. "I don't care what the cost is, it needs to be killed."

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