As House members debate Democrats’ $1.5 trillion infrastructure spending package, Republicans have voiced opposition, saying it is not a true bipartisan infrastructure bill that addresses the needs of their districts but rather a socialist wish-list largely taken from the Green New Deal.
“The Speaker has chosen to spend the House’s time this week on a cousin of the Green New Deal masquerading as a highway bill,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Twitter. “You don’t have to take my word for it. The Chair of the @TranportDems said, ‘This is the application of the principles of the Green New Deal.’”
The Democrats’ package, The Way Forward Act, includes more than $300 billion of investment in renewing roads and bridges and $100 billion in transit to zero-emission buses. It triples the funding for Amtrak to $29 billion, allowing for upgrades and expansion of the rail network. It also plans to modernize U.S. postal service infrastructure, which includes a zero-emission postal vehicle fleet.
The package also prioritizes climate change-related and clean energy projects, with an investment of more than 70 billion-dollars on renewable energy, including extensions to tax credits for onshore and offshore wind, solar, and carbon capture.
Democrats are not hiding the fact that the infrastructure package is focused on what they call a “climate crisis”; instead they criticize President Donald Trump and Republicans for not heeding the warning of climate scientists.
Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said in a tweet Wednesday, “The Moving Forward infrastructure package is necessary investment in green infrastructure and clean economy envisioned in the @ClimateCrisis report. We must continue to enact bold, science-based legislation to address this crisis.”
One reason Republicans are critical of the infrastructure package is because they say Democrats did not seek to work with the GOP and make it a truly bipartisan piece of legislation that could reach the President’s desk.
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) said, “Surface transportation is a #bipartisan issue. But to craft their ‘My Way or the Highway’ bill, @HouseDemcrats ignored @HouseGOP input.” He said the Democrats are trying to implement the Green New Deal. “Americans want a Real highway bill, NOT #socialism,” he added.
Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said the democrats do not have a viable way to pay for this legislation.
“I spoke on the House Floor in opposition to H.R. 2 – a $1.5 trillion partisan infrastructure bill. It’s time for the games to stop, and to work on a bipartisan bill that invests in our American infrastructure – which is beyond desperately needed,” said Perry (R-Pa.)
“1400 pages unrelated to the repair and build out of our nation’s infrastructure two thirds of this spending $1 trillion created out of thin air in the two weeks since we had the discussion in the transportation committee, just dropped on it we didn’t even discuss it, after we left and marked up the bill,” he added.
And while the Democrats see the package as bold and necessary, Republicans like Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ariz.) say it falls far short in addressing his district’s basic infrastructure needs.
“I’ll be voting NO on House Dems #MyWayOrTheHighway bill: Green New Deal provisions, Prioritizes urban areas at the expense of rural America, Mandates that hinder road development, Adds 1.5 trillion to nation’s debt., Fails to tackle unnecessary permitting delays,” said Rep. Womack in a tweet.
Republicans said it had no hope of passing in the Senate.
“The Dem ‘highway bill’ is nothing more than a messaging bill, crafted by @SpeakerPelosi to appease the hard-core left. It will go no further than the House, and it will not do a single thing to help modernize our infrastructure or make roads and highways safer,” said Rep. David Rouzer (R-N.C.)