How Iowa Members Of Congress Explained Their Infrastructure Bill Vote

Photo: A bridge under repair in Woodbury County

Long-standing efforts to pass an infrastructure bill and make some legislative progress have produced results. On Friday the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan infrastructure plan (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act). Rep. Cindy Axne was the only member of the House from Iowa that voted in support of it.

Included in the infrastructure bill are investments for bridges repair, infrastructure for better water quality, high-speed internet in rural areas, improvements for Iowa’s roads, and infrastructure that will make Iowa more resilient to climate events like flooding and severe storms. The bill is also projected to create hundreds of thousands of new, good-paying jobs.

“With this bill, we’re securing the investments we need to expand internet access, reduce supply chain disruptions, and keep our communities safe – all without raising taxes on middle class Iowans,” Axne said in a press release.

She also explained the benefits to Iowans, including the resources for modernizing roads, bridges and public transportation.

“To be clear: while this bill moves to the President’s desk to become law, I believe that our work is not over,” Axne said. “I came to Congress to find solutions on a range of issues that are facing our middle class families – and investments in priorities like child care, biofuels, affordable prescription drugs, housing, education, and sustainable agriculture are still on my to-do list.”

The Senate passed the bill in August, and Sen. Chuck Grassley voted for it while Sen. Joni Ernst did not. In a press release at the time, Grassley said, “Iowa’s aging infrastructure risks slowing economic growth and eroding daily comfort and convenience. This bipartisan bill fixes potholes, rebuilds bridges, upgrades water systems and brings broadband to rural corners of our state. Investing in Iowa’s infrastructure will pay dividends for decades to come.”

The Iowa Republicans who didn’t support the bill were mainly stated their opposition to the Infrastructure and Jobs Act being connected to the Build Back Better Act, which provides resources for human infrastructure like child care, affordable education and more affordable drug prices.

“While I certainly support improving America’s hard infrastructure — like our roads and bridges — I simply can’t support saddling more debt onto the shoulders of future generations of Iowans and opening the door for Bernie Sanders to ram through his multi-trillion dollar liberal tax-and-spending spree,” Ernst said in an August statement.

At that point, the Build Back Better Act had not been negotiated down to its current, smaller figure.

The three House Republicans have spent the last few days focused on criticizing the Build Back Better Act, which is a separate, but complementary, bill currently under review. Republicans and some Democrats have called for an analysis and cost estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which frequently analyzes financial impacts of legislation.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks released this statement: “I have been calling for a fully funded bipartisan bill that would improve our bridges, roads, broadband, locks, dams, broadband, and electric grid. I will not support a bill that is directly tied to a multi-trillion dollar reckless tax and spend package that increases inflation and had no Republican input, even though Congress is evenly divided.”

Rep. Ashley Hinson explained the cost of the bipartisan infrastructure bill was her main reason for not supporting it. Hinson called the spending “wasteful” and suggested it’s too much for a bill that’s meant to improve infrastructure nationwide.

“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,” she said in a press release.

The bill did garner support from both parties, though. On Friday, 13 Republican House members voted for the infrastructure bill. Nineteen Senate Republicans voted for it in August.

Rep. Randy Feenstra didn’t say much other than to tweet accusations of reckless spending.


by Nikoel Hytrek
Posted 11/9/21

2 Comments on "How Iowa Members Of Congress Explained Their Infrastructure Bill Vote"

  • Should be extremely interesting watching these three House Republicans run for re-election on not doing anything for their constituents because, well, you know the lemming theory.

  • Obviously those anti-infrastructure representatives would not mind if all of the money coming to Iowa was spent in Cindy Axne’s district. After all none of their constituents has any problems with the roads and bridges and lack of rural internet in their districrs.

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