WASHINGTON — Last July, Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., talked up the need for Congress to pass a “traditional” infrastructure bill. “I think the fact that the Senate has come up with it appears like a bipartisan infrastructure plan is positive news,” LaHood told Peoria radio station WCBU. LaHood said what he liked about the Senate
WASHINGTON — Last July, Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., talked up the need for Congress to pass a “traditional” infrastructure bill.
“I think the fact that the Senate has come up with it appears like a bipartisan infrastructure plan is positive news,” LaHood told Peoria radio station WCBU.
LaHood said what he liked about the Senate bill was that “we are defining infrastructure in the traditional way: roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, rail systems.”
The Senate would go on to pass that infrastructure bill in August, in what has become unusual — a robust bipartisan roll call, 69 to 30.
Nineteen Senate Republicans joined all 50 Democrats, including the Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
HOW THE ILLINOIS DELEGATION VOTED
Yet when the House voted on the Senate bill at 11:24 p.m. on Friday night, LaHood, from Peoria, voted no.
Illinois GOP House members Rodney Davis, from Taylorville; Mike Bost, from Murphysboro; and Mary Miller, from Oakland, were also no votes.
The House passed the $1.2 trillion “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” and sent it to President Joe Biden to sign on a 228-206 roll call.
There were 215 Democratic yes votes, short of the 218 needed. The six far left Democratic members of “the Squad” voted against the infrastructure bill as did most Republicans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was only able to pass the infrastructure bill because 13 Republicans, including Rep. Adam Kinzinger, from Channahon, voted yes. All 13 Illinois House Democrats voted yes.
“This bipartisan package contains significant investments for roads, bridges, rails, seaports, airports, and inland waterways—core infrastructure most Americans agree are in need of improvement,” said Kinzinger in a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The bill also includes a massive investment into broadband and billions more into nuclear energy programs, both of which are uniquely important to the 16th District of Illinois.”
There are two bills in play.
The $1.2 trillion measure covers “traditional” infrastructure, that is, things related to roads, bridges, airports, rail lines, ports, bike trails, electric charging stations, increasing broadband access and getting rid of lead pipes to improve water quality.
These items overall are not controversial — that’s why the Senate bill got the backing of McConnell and 18 others.
The no votes from the Republicans and Democrats in “the squad,” — led by progressive hardliner Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. — were based in large part on the looming $1.75 trillion social spending bill Biden has branded as “Build Back Better.” It is also often called the “reconciliation bill.”
BBB has funding to combat climate change, improve health care coverage and housing, provide child care and free pre-kindergarten plus more.
No Republicans back BBB.
BBB is in limbo because of simmering disagreements among House and Senate progressives and moderates.
AOC and the rest of “the squad” voted no because they are upset the two bills — linked together in the original deal to keep pressure on Democrats — were decoupled.
That deal fell apart because Pelosi lives in the real world and could not muster 218 votes to move BBB first.
House Republicans from Illinois voting no invoked the pending BBB. They argue that passing the infrastructure bill sets the stage for a vote on the BBB — and they wanted nothing to do with that.
LaHood said in a statement he voted no because “the reality remains that the infrastructure bill and reconciliation package are linked and cannot be viewed separately. A vote for the infrastructure bill is a vote that paves the way for an extreme reconciliation spending bill…”
Davis said in a statement, he was “beyond disappointed” that Biden and congressional Democrats “paired bipartisan infrastructure investment to their reckless, multi-trillion-dollar, tax-and-spending proposal.”
Bost said in a statement Biden “and the far left made clear that passage of the infrastructure bill is tied to approval of their massive, multi-trillion-dollar socialist spending spree. As a conservative, I am unwilling to help the D.C. liberals fund their big government agenda.”
By voting no, Miller, Davis, Bost and LaHood escaped Trump’s wrath — he said in a Sunday statement, “very sad that the RINOs [Republicans in Name Only] in the House and Senate gave Biden and Democrats a victory…”
No matter the protests of Miller, LaHood, Bost and Davis — their districts will get historic levels of infrastructure funding, money they were willing to risk. Trump talked a big game about an infrastructure bill — he was all for it — but never delivered.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., the Trumpist who traffics in conspiracies, attacked Kinzinger and the dozen others voting for the infrastructure bill, calling it in a tweet, Biden’s “communist takeover of America.”
Kinzinger tweeted back, “Infrastructure=communism is a new one. Eisenhower’s interstate system should be torn up or else the commies will be able to conveniently drive!”