Background Briefing: July 28, 2021


What the Senate Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Does and Doesn’t Do

We begin with the Senate bipartisan infrastructure package which now appears ready to pass the filibuster threshold so that it can actually be debated. Joining us to discuss what it does and does not address is Robert Hockett, the Edward Cornell Professor of Law and a Professor of Public Policy at Cornell University who advise Representative Ocasio-Cortez on her economic policy and is the author of Financing the Green New Deal: A Plan of Action and Renewal. We assess the extent to which Republican Senators from rural states have got money for roads while Democrats from urban states have lost funds for public transportation and how the whole package is slanted towards investing in deferred maintenance and past needs as opposed to meeting the challenges of the future such as climate change and the need for clean renewable energy. We also assess the path forward for the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package going through the budget reconciliation process which will require all Democrats abroad including Senators Sinema and Manchin who have balked at raising taxes and switching to alternative energy but might be amenable to other provisions.


China Signals It Is Building up its Strategic Nuclear Arsenal

Then we look into the latest reports from the American Federation of Scientists based on commercial satellite imagery about the building of nuclear missile silos in western China as the Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army appears to be signaling it is increasing its strategic nuclear arsenal which nevertheless is way below what the U.S. and Russia have. John Pike, one of the world’s leading experts on defense, space and intelligence policy who is Director of and has been at the forefront of utilizing satellite imagery to monitor worldwide weapons facilities, joins us.


The Co-author of I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year

Then finally we speak with Philip Rucker the senior Washington correspondent at The Washington Post who is the author along with Carol Leonnig of A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America. He joins us to discuss their latest book, just out, I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year which reveals a dysfunctional and bumbling presidency’s inner workings in stunning detail leaving one to wonder how this madman still has millions of followers and is the leader of the Republican Party.