Before the offices of Reps. Jim Costa and TJ Cox could issue news releases trumpeting House passage of a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared the bill dead on arrival Wednesday.
“We’ve been relying on the investments of our parents and grandparents for too long. With the significant investments in water, transportation, and our communities provided by the Moving Forward Act, we can create jobs and build a more sustainable future.” — Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno
“This so-called infrastructure bill would siphon billions in funding from actual infrastructure to funnel into climate change policies,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor. “So naturally, this nonsense is not going anywhere in the Senate. It will just join the list of absurd House proposals that were only drawn up to show fealty to the radical left.”
Moving Forward Act Includes Water Funding
The Democratic-authored H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act passed in the House, 233-188, mostly along party lines Wednesday before lawmakers headed home for the July 4 holiday. The legislation included reauthorization of the five-year highway bill expiring on Sept. 30. In addition, it had $130 billion for schools, $100 billion for rural broadband, and $100 billion for affordable housing.
Three Republicans backed the bill: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Reps. Jeff Van Drew and Chris Smith, both of New Jersey. Two Democrats voted against it: Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Ben McAdams of Utah.
As Costa pointed out in a news release, the act had $65 billion in provisions that would benefit the San Joaquin Valley. That funding, he said, would be tapped to repair aging water infrastructure such as the Friant-Kern canal, improve drought resiliency, and provide clean drinking water for rural communities.
“A modern infrastructure lays the foundation for a thriving economy,” Costa said. “We’ve been relying on the investments of our parents and grandparents for too long. With the significant investments in water, transportation, and our communities provided by the Moving Forward Act, we can create jobs and build a more sustainable future.”
Said Cox: “This legislation is important for the entire nation to fix crumbling infrastructure and help rebuild communities from coast to coast. I call on my colleagues in the Senate to work with us to pass this key piece of legislation without delay so we can get to work rebuilding this country.”
But, as McConnell made clear, that isn’t happening.
Trump Talks $2 Trillion Proposal, More Stimulus Checks
So, what’s next on efforts to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and stimulate an economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic?
President Donald Trump is talking about $2 trillion in infrastructure spending but is getting strong resistance from Senate Republicans who don’t want to add to the nation’s deficit.
On Wednesday, Trump said that his proposal would include another round of stimulus checks for Americans.
“I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats, but it’s got to be done properly,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business News. “We had something where it gave you a disincentive to work last time.”