Democrats Say They’re Helping but Republicans Say Trillions in New Social Programs Will Create Government Dependency

By Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
October 11, 2021 Updated: October 11, 2021

While Democrats advertise their 2,500-page, over $3.5 trillion legislation which aims to expand government social programs to help improve the economic prosperity of Americans, Republicans oppose the increased spending saying it will create an unhealthy dependency on the federal government and ultimately raise taxes on the average American.

Ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said the currently staled $3.5 budget reconciliation bill (The Build Back Better agenda) would put into place social programs that would cause addiction to those government handouts.

“One is this just massive expansion of government’s role in our life. Cradle to grave sunup to sundown and all night long government is going to be more involved, sending out money, often to people who don’t even need it. It’s a complete takeover and master spending to a level that we’ve never seen before,” Barrasso told host Maria Bartiromo on Fox News on Oct. 10.

Meanwhile, Democrats say the over $3.5 trillion in new spending will help working Americans buffer the economic effects of the pandemic and create a “more inclusive prosperity.”

“First and foremost [it’s] about helping Americans get through this awful pandemic and helping their families cope and survive economically, but it is also key to the pro-democracy agenda that we have,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee during an interview with “Face The Nation” on Oct. 10.

“The Build Back Better Act meets the immediate and long-term needs of the American people while addressing glaring gaps in our economy and society,” said chairman of the House Appropriation Committee Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) in a recent press statement.

Nancy Pelosi speaks
Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), listen as Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks during her weekly press conference in the Capitol building in Washington, on July 20, 2017. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“[The Build Back Better Act] is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create historic change to meet the needs of America’s working families,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said in a recent statement.

Progressives and moderates within the Democrat caucus have been trying to negotiate the cost of the proposed bill, with progressives refusing to take out provisions that curtail their social programs like free and subsidized childcare, college, and healthcare as well as a climate provision that invests billions into non-fossil fuel energy programs.

The socialist-minded lawmakers say they may be willing to shorten the funding cycles, so instead of a 10-year funding cycle, the bill would fund programs for 3 or 5 years. Republicans, however, are concerned that once you put a social program in place, it is almost impossible to end those subsidies or free programs.

“Well, that’s actually the absolute bottom line of what we’re looking at here. In a way to try to lower the price tag, they’re saying, ‘well, we’ll just start them [social programs] small, and let them grow over time.’ You and I know, Maria, once you get a federal government program in place it’s very hard for it to ever go away. So everything you mentioned, is in there; the question is, how much are they going to start funding. But their goal is a complete takeover of the lives of the American people,” said Barrasso.

Leaders of the Progressives like chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) say they are not willing to cut any provisions for their list of social programs or climate security initiatives but are willing to shorten the funding cycle of these programs to lower the cost and get moderates to vote for their agenda.

“I think that one of the ideas that are out there is, fully fund what we can fully fund, but maybe instead of doing it for 10 years, you fully fund it for five years,” Ocasio-Cortez told CBS’s “Face The Nation” last week.

While Democrats continue to finalize the amount of their budget legislation, Republicans fiercely oppose most of the Build Back Better agenda, noting that implementing wide-reaching social programs will increase the national debt and raise taxes on most Americans.

“It will raise taxes the highest level in American history, mostly paid by middle- and lower-income Americans, all to advance the Democrat socialist agenda to transform America into an unrecognizable European-like country,” said Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) in a social media statement last week.

Masooma Haq