This week I joined a bipartisan group of sixty-nine senators to invest in America’s roads, bridges, locks and dams, broadband and more.
At almost every one of my 99 county meetings, Iowans raise the need for infrastructure projects in Iowa. They also ask me, “Why can’t you guys get along in Washington?” The infrastructure bill is an example of how Congress can cut through the gridlock and pass bipartisan legislation to spur economic growth.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill is far from what President Biden wanted. It is not Biden’s bill. It is a bipartisan infrastructure package trimmed down from what the Democrats originally proposed. This bill does not raise taxes. It does not have a mileage tax. It does not have the Green New Deal and there is no amnesty. Biden had hoped a host of controversial left-wing priorities could ride along on the popularity of infrastructure, and the White House tried to back out of his public promises to press for progressive priorities behind the scenes. Republicans prevailed and their liberal wish list was left on the cutting room floor.
Investing in infrastructure invests in Iowa’s future. Here is what is in the bipartisan infrastructure bill: $4.2 billion for Iowa’s roads, $431 million to repair Iowa’s structurally deficient bridges, $227 million for clean water and drinking water for Iowa’s communities. It will allow Iowa’s airports large and small to make improvements and update locks and dams along the Mississippi River for farmers and manufacturers to move their product to market. The pandemic exposed the digital divide for Iowans without access to high-speed internet for online learning, remote work and telehealth. This bill invests $65 billion in broadband to build out high-speed internet to underserved and unserved communities. These dollars are spent once and are an investment for the next forty years.
I will work with anyone to deliver for Iowans. I worked with President Trump when he championed infrastructure and I worked with this administration because it is the right thing for Iowa’s future.
What is outrageous is that before the ink was dry on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Democrats moved immediately to their reckless and partisan $4 trillion dollar tax and spending spree to try to muddy the waters. Now, that bill is chock-full of their partisan wish list and progressive priorities. Something I will fight against at every turn. Their budget plan gives amnesty to illegal immigrants, advances the Green New Deal, and creates massive new entitlements with massive new tax hikes. It is a radical, reckless bill at a time of soaring inflation.
The ball is now in Speaker Pelosi’s court. Passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the Senate makes it harder for moderate Democrats to swallow the partisan swill their leaders are pushing. These separate bills are not tied together. In fact, a group of eight moderate House Democrats have called on Pelosi to hold an immediate vote on the bipartisan bill instead of trying to hold it hostage. Pelosi ought to heed their call to move on the bipartisan infrastructure bill sooner, rather than later and throw Democrats’ reckless budget blueprint in the trash can where it belongs.
Sen. Chuck Grassley has represented Iowa in the United States Senate since 1981. Grassley has delivered many bipartisan infrastructure priorities through his seat for Iowa on the Senate Finance Committee.