Trump blasts $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package as ‘a disgrace’ before key vote, criticizes McConnell’s leadership

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on July 11, 2021. AP Photo/LM Otero
  • Trump once again criticized the $US1 ($AU1) trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill ahead of a key vote.
  • “It will be very hard for me to endorse anyone foolish enough to vote in favor of this deal,” he said.
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York hopes to advance the legislation on Saturday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday blasted the $US1 ($AU1) trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that Senate negotiators have spent months delicately putting together. Hours ahead of an expected vote to advance the bill, Trump called the legislation a “disgrace” and asked GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to push for a better deal.

In a statement from Trump’s Save America PAC, the former president accused Senate Republicans of acquiescing to the Democratic agenda and warned them to “think twice before you approve this terrible deal.”

“Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill is a disgrace,” Trump said in his opening message. “If Mitch McConnell was smart, which we’ve seen no evidence of, he would use the debt ceiling card to negotiate a good infrastructure package.”

Trump, who was unable to secure a infrastructure package while in office, said that lawmakers didn’t have enough time to fully read the legislation.

“This is a 2,700 page bill that no one could have possibly read – they would have needed to take speed reading courses,” he said. “It is a gift to the Democrat Party, compliments of Mitch McConnell and some RINOs, who have no idea what they are doing.”

The former president put GOP lawmakers on further notice, saying that the bill “will be used against the Republican Party in the upcoming elections in 2022 and 2024” and cautioned that “it will be very hard for me to endorse anyone foolish enough to vote in favor of this deal.”

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Republican lawmakers who helped negotiate the bill, including Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and retiring Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, have long sought bipartisan consensus on the issue.

“I’m sure what the [former] president has to say influences many people’s thinking, but [18 Republicans] came down on the side of supporting cloture,” Romney told Insider, referring to a procedural step that advances the infrastructure bill.

“I’m not sure [about] the nature of his objections,” Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, another GOP negotiator, said in a recent interview with Insider, referring to Trump. “Somehow, he says it’s a win for [Biden.] I view it as a win for the American people.”

Portman recently reached out to Trump in seeking support for the plan, pointing out that the legislation did not rescind the party’s prized 2017 tax reform bill, but the former president has so far not been moved.

“I would hope that the President [Trump] at the end will be supportive,” Portman told reporters late last month. “I’m going to try to keep him informed of what we’re doing, because I think it’s important that we continue to have this be bipartisan. It’s not a victory for one party or the other, in my view, it’s a victory for the American people.”

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has scheduled a Saturday afternoon vote to end debate on the infrastructure bill.

With a 50-50 Senate and the infrastructure bill subject to filibuster rules, Schumer must hold all 50 members of his caucus and secure at least 10 GOP votes to meet the 60-vote threshold to advance the legislation.

So far, 18 Senate Republicans, including McConnell, have indicated support for the bill and it cleared the upper chamber.

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis released on Thursday revealed that the bill would add $US256 ($AU349) billion to the deficit over the next 10 years, but Portman and Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona called for passage of the bill, indicating that the CBO used different figures in their calculations.

“The new spending under the bill is offset through a combination of new revenue and savings, some of which is reflected in the formal CBO score and some of which is reflected in other savings and additional revenue identified in estimates, as CBO is limited in what it can include in its formal score,” the senators said in a statement.

Democrats are aiming to move a separate $US3.5 ($AU5) trillion “human infrastructure” bill through the budget reconciliation process, which would only require a simple majority for passage.