Reps. Jim Jordan and Elijah Cummings. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Today in strange bedfellows: The ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus share enthusiasm for the same bill — an infrastructure package with bipartisan and pan-ideological enthusiasm.
What's more, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is onboard. The Intercept's Ryan Grim summed up these unusual political dynamics in a tweet: "Here's Breitbart writing about Kevin McCarthy endorsing the use of a CBC-backed bill to make an infrastructure deal happen. Worlds are colliding."
Details: As we reported last year, the bill — called the Generating American Infrastructure and Income Now (GAIIN) Act — would require the Department of Agriculture to sell its distressed debt assets, estimated to be worth more than $50 billion.
- The money gained by selling off these assets would be divided in two: Half would go to paying down the national debt, and half would go to funding infrastructure projects in communities below the poverty level.
In a Saturday phone interview, Wendell Stemley, the president of the National Association of Minority Contractors, told me he's backing the GAIIN Act. "Like everybody, we want to see a fully funded infrastructure bill," he said. "But one that accomplishes some of those objectives without raising the national debt and additional taxes has got to be something we get behind."