Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (IA-01) released the below statement on the infrastructure package.
Too often in Washington, the potential for important, bipartisan policy is torpedoed by partisan politics. The need to make meaningful investments in our nation’s real infrastructure—roads and bridges, locks and dams, and broadband—was sacrificed to advance a partisan, socialist spending spree.
I have talked to countless Iowans about infrastructure, and I believe folks in our state would support targeted investments to improve the roads we drive on every day, the bridges our farmers haul grain across, the waterways our economy depends on, and broadband that is desperately needed in rural communities. I also believe there would have been wide, bipartisan support in Congress for a package that responsibly invested in infrastructure and respected taxpayers.
Instead, we got the $1.2 trillion (and 2,700 page) “bipartisan infrastructure bill” tacked onto the multi-trillion budget reconciliation package–all amid an inflation crisis caused by massive overspending in the first place.
Many Iowans have asked me what is in the $1.2 trillion, 2,700 page bill—where would their tax dollars be going? Of the $1.2 trillion dollars, $650 billion of it reauthorizes existing spending for surface transportation infrastructure, primarily roads and bridges. This is funding that Congress typically re-ups, in a bipartisan manner, to meet our transportation needs. On its own, I believe Iowans would support this plan, and I would too.
But the legislation we are considering also calls for $550 billion in new spending. Let me level with you, I think most Iowans would support reasonable spending on real, physical infrastructure. However, I believe this bill adds too much additional spending for items aside from the physical infrastructure Iowans care most about, without fully paying for them.
For example, the Northeast Corridor Amtrak receives $6 billion in grants and another $24 billion carve-out in the Federal-State Partnership Program. That’s $30 billion going to the Northeast Amtrak line, fifteen times the amount of money set aside for broadband programs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture in this bill.
Let’s talk about what isn’t in the bill: necessary investments in Iowa’s biofuel industry. During the infrastructure negotiations, I joined my fellow Iowans in Washington to call on the Administration to prioritize our biofuel industry in the infrastructure package. After all, President Biden made a campaign promise that he would support the ethanol industry and Iowa producers. Instead of following through on that promise, the bill makes unprecedented and unnecessary taxpayer investments in electric vehicles. The President needs to be held accountable for his broken promise to our biofuel and ethanol producers he is leaving in the dust. I could not support legislation that blatantly disregarded the needs of our biofuel industry to the benefit of coastal elites who “need” a charging station for their electric vehicle.
We can’t talk about the “bipartisan infrastructure bill” without talking about how Speaker Pelosi, to appease Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s squad, held this process, and any potential bipartisan compromise, hostage. When President Biden gave Senator Bernie Sanders the lead on drafting the budget, he predictably wrote the multi-trillion dollar tax and spending spree that puts government in charge of every aspect of our lives and livelihoods from cradle to grave. It’s the biggest leap toward socialism this nation has ever seen – it takes the Marxist ideology that once only existed in textbooks and makes it law in the United States of America. Even some Democrats have sounded the alarm on this socialist spending as our economy drags and working families are grappling with record inflation, threatening the legislation’s path to become law. The only bipartisan aspect of this mammoth bill is the opposition to it. But Speaker Pelosi could not afford any defectors in the House, and since she controls what comes up for a vote, she dictated that the House would only consider an infrastructure package if trillions in new, socialist spending also passed.
That’s not how you govern. That’s not how you get things done for the American people. You do not create a legislative ultimatum by tossing trillions of hardworking Americans’ money up in the air like Monopoly money. That’s Washington gamesmanship at its absolute worst and the very definition of chaos and dysfunction that Iowans sent me here to fight against.
Amid this chaos, I’ve been working to bring taxpayer dollars back home for infrastructure projects in our district. My top priority has been to find ways, even in the minority, to reinvest tax dollars in Iowa to make a positive impact in your everyday life. And I’m proud to say that we’ve been successful. I delivered federal funding for Lock & Dam No. 10 in Guttenberg, Iowa, to ensure our agriculture producers can get their products to market. As a Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I successfully advocated to advance Community Project Funding for key infrastructure projects in our district like building roads, improving airports, and upgrading our lock and dam system along the Mississippi River.
I strongly support targeted investments in real infrastructure that will improve Iowans’ daily lives and keep our economy moving; but I strongly oppose going down Speaker Pelosi’s road to wasteful spending and tax hikes.