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Democrats, GOP diverge on federal spending priorities

Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 1:05 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - With the Democrats now in control of the House, Senate and White House, change is happening. Most recently, a historic spending bill – the American Rescue Plan – was put in place in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Virginia GOP Congressman Ben Cline, who sits on key committees that will oversee future spending proposals, weighs in on these current spending projects.

“The spending process in Congress is broken. It’s off track,” said Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.).

Cline joined the House budget and appropriations committees this year. He says he’s concerned about ballooning federal spending. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the federal deficit is projected to be $2.3 trillion dollars in 2021.

“What we need to do is to focus on core functions of government, address the coronavirus, beat the coronavirus,” said Cline.

Cline is speaking out about the recently-approved American Rescue Plan, which funds stimulus checks, expanded tax credits, and aid to distressed state and local governments.

But Cline says the bill – which passed without any Republican votes – included too much unrelated spending.

“We need to right the ship and make sure that future generations of taxpayers have their money spent wisely,” said Cline.

But with the political divide on Capitol Hill, the legislative agenda will be driven by the Democrats. Now that they got through a two-trillion dollar Covid relief plan, the attention turns to infrastructure reform.

“That feels like the next big step for us and it’s really important for us because the most important thing we can do right now is get the economy growing again,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.).

Democratic Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee serves in various leadership positions on Capitol Hill. He believes a bipartisan plan to enhance America’s roads, bridges, highways and broadband could help the nation recover from a historic economic downturn.

“It’s a need that is pervasive all across the country, in red states and blue states,” said Kildee.

Also in the pipeline is talk of tax increases, which Cline opposes. Democrats like Kildee expect Congress will review tax rates on higher income Americans.

Cline says if an infrastructure deal moves forward, his focus would be on fighting for funds for I-81 improvements.

Leaders hope to get a program over the finish line by the end of the year.

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