Fox News anchor Chris Wallace confronted Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) on Sunday over the Republican lawmaker’s full-throated opposition to President Joe Biden’s reconciliation spending package, noting that the bill not only contains provisions Barrasso has supported in the past but that his state would also overwhelmingly “benefit” from the bill.
While the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party continue to hash out the final details of the massive social policy spending bill, Republicans have remained united in opposition to it. Interviewing Barrasso on Fox News Sunday, Wallace wondered aloud if this was all a political game for the Wyoming lawmaker and his GOP cohorts.
“As you point out, 19 of your fellow Republican senators voted for the bipartisan infrastructure plan in the Senate. You did not. You called the reconciliation bill a freight train to socialism. You and all of the Republicans were refusing the normal course—the bipartisan passage of raising the debt limit. So I guess the question to you and a lot of Republicans is are you viewing these issues on the merits or are you just playing partisan politics?”
Barrasso, for his part, said he supported a lot of what’s in the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal but feels “it spent too much” and he was concerned “with the gimmicks that were used to fund it.” He also claimed that Republicans opposed the reconciliation package because they “want to grow the economy” while Democrats want to “grow the government.”
Turning his attention to the reconciliation bill, the Fox anchor noted that it contains an extension and increase of the child tax credit that Barrasso himself supported when he voted for former President Donald Trump’s tax cuts in 2017.
“Your state of Wyoming is one of the states that benefits most from the increase in the child tax credit. Why oppose that?” Wallace asked.
After the conservative senator began complaining about the spending bill’s current $3.5 trillion price tag, the Fox News Sunday moderator cut him off, pushing him on the specific details of the child tax credit.
“I guess part of the question is could you have worked with them on this child tax credit which you voted for in 2017? That’s one of the things you are voting against right now,” Wallace continued. “Why oppose that program?”
Dodging the question, Barrasso insisted you had to look at the “entire balance” of the bill before complaining that the package calls for more stringent IRS auditing procedures.
“This is an invasion of privacy,” the senator exclaimed. “Every senator's hearing about this. That is included as well.”
Moving past the child tax credit, Wallace then brought up another item of the spending bill that would help Barasso’s home state quite a bit.
“You talk about things you don't like—like the added IRS agents and added IRS intrusion,” the veteran anchor declared. “Let's talk about another part of the bill which is universal Pre-K.”
He added: “In the state of Wyoming, less than one-quarter of children 3-4, who would be covered in the bill, are enrolled in publicly funded preschool. Less than a quarter. Wouldn’t a lot of Wyoming families benefit from universal Pre-K?”
Barrasso, however, couldn’t bring himself to give credit to the president for anything.
“There’s a number of things that would help Wyoming,” he groused. “Overall, Joe Biden's policies have been hurting the people of Wyoming.”
The Republican senator then grumbled that while progressives want to provide free community college, Pre-K, and daycare to Americans, it is “not the way our country has been founded.”