Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) released the following statement after President Biden announced his outline for an infrastructure plan today:
“Thankfully, it’s Congress’ job to write legislation and not the Administration’s.
“Our country desperately needs Congress to find common ground to make smart, responsible investments in our infrastructure. But to do that, we must take into account the trillions of dollars – an unprecedented amount of funding – this body approved over the last year to help the American people and economy weather the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We should address infrastructure in the same fashion: through partnership – not partisanship.
“Although last year’s COVID assistance was passed on a bipartisan basis, we cannot begin thinking of bills that spend trillions as the new normal. But the President’s blueprint is a multi-trillion-dollar partisan shopping list of progressive priorities, all broadly categorized as ‘infrastructure’ and paid for with massive, job-killing tax increases. Such tax hikes couldn’t come at a worse time, with the economy fighting its way out of this pandemic. This proposal will hurt small businesses and job creators throughout the country.
“The approach proposed by the Administration doesn’t foster the bipartisanship that the President campaigned on and that our country needs from us now.
“For months, I have cautioned other leaders that Republicans could not support an ‘infrastructure’ bill that is, in reality, an enormous catch-all measure. And I have cautioned that Republicans could not support an ‘infrastructure’ bill that is, in reality, a climate bill that does not focus on core transportation and infrastructure needs.
“Only 25% of this package is dedicated to our roads, bridges, transit, rail, airports, ports and other traditional transportation infrastructure that the Committee is charged with overseeing. That does not reflect a targeted approach at all. $1.7 trillion of the Administration’s proposal goes to a wide array of initiatives that would be better considered through thoughtfully crafted, more targeted measures – not lumped together in a massive package that throws taxpayers under the bus with the biggest tax hikes we’ve seen in decades – a fact the Administration seems proud to embrace.
“I hope that as Congress develops infrastructure legislation in the coming weeks, we choose proposals that can in fact gain bipartisan support and leave behind partisanship and fiscal recklessness.”
Note: on March 4th, Graves urged the President and other leaders that a bipartisan infrastructure bill must remain manageable, responsible, and transportation-infrastructure focused, and must not leave rural America behind. Last week, Graves reiterated these points in his opening statement when Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg testified before the Committee to discuss the Administration’s infrastructure priorities.
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