The Outrage Machine Targets the Infrastructure Bill

The bipartisan infrastructure bill is popular, both on Capitol Hill and beyond the Beltway. In the Senate, it won the support of 69 senators — including the leaders of both parties. Nationwide, three out of four Americans support it.

So why hasn’t it passed the House yet? Answer: The extremes on both sides are mobilizing to kill or delay its passage.

On the right, groups including Heritage Action, FreedomWorks, and Club For Growth attacked the bill, saying it supports “left-leaning priorities and fails to properly pay for it.” (This was nothing new for Heritage Action, which opposed both 2020 COVID relief packages, the 2019 Bipartisan Budget Act, and appropriations bills to keep government funded.)

On the left, the House Progressive Caucus — which actually supports the spending in the bill — threatened earlier this summer to sink it entirely unless the $3.5 trillion social spending and climate bill “[is] moved simultaneously” — opting for an all-or-nothing approach. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told CNN that the progressives have “more than enough” votes to kill the infrastructure bill if the Democratic-only spending bill is not also adopted.

This hardline perspective is being echoed and amplified on cable news and social media. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called the bipartisan bill — which would be the biggest infrastructure investment since the creation of the Interstate Highway System — a “little bipartisan bill.” A few clicks up the dial at Fox News, Tucker Carlson said the bill would eliminate America’s suburbs.

On the day the bill passed the Senate, Fox News host Mark Levin said a bill funding upgrades to bridges, broadband, and water pipes is “tyranny.” Sean Hannity called it a “far-left spending spree under the guise of so-called infrastructure and bipartisanship.”

This is what we’re up against as a House vote on the infrastructure bill approaches on September 27. The angriest and most radical voices will continue to agitate against it, more interested in scoring political points than in passing a commonsense bill that most Americans support and that makes investments our country desperately needs.

It’s time to throw a wrench in the gears of the outrage machine and break this tired, cynical cycle.

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