GOP lawmakers opposed to infrastructure bill demand to know where is the missing text

Republican lawmakers are asking where the full text is to a $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending bill after the Senate voted 67-32 on a procedural move Wednesday to advance debate on the legislation.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) was one GOP member who voted against proceeding to debate, explaining on Twitter that “there was no legislative text” for him to read to discover what the bill actually contains.

“I voted no on #infrastructure a week ago because there was no legislative text,” he wrote Wednesday night. “My mind hasn’t changed. There’s still no legislative text or explanation on how to pay for a $1T infrastructure plan.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) also declined to vote for the measure, and for the same reason Scott declined.

“I will not be voting for it until it’s written and we’ve seen the text,” Cornyn reportedly said, according to a tweet from Business Insider reporter Joseph Zeballos-Roig. “I’m not comfortable giving it my vote until I’ve had a chance to evaluate it.”

In place of the full text of the bill, Republicans who helped negotiate the package with Democrats, as well as the Biden White House, released differing summaries of the full measure they felt were the bill’s highlights.

The Associated Press reported that the 57-page summary purported to explain how many of the spending bill’s provisions would be paid for, but that still did not satisfy several skeptical Republicans who want to see more details, namely the full legislation.

The White House’s summary, by comparison, emphasized how much money in the bill would be earmarked for specific infrastructure like roads, bridges, public transportation, and other traditional items.

Just 17 Republicans in the upper chamber voted with all 50 Democrats to advance the measure for debate, meaning that the legislation still faces a lot of resistance from the GOP in what is just the first vote of many more to come as the bill makes its way towards final approval or rejection.

Many of the resistant Republicans have expressed concerns that approving the $1.2 trillion bill will lead the way to approval of a separate, massively expensive $3.5 trillion spending measure that addresses a number of environmental and benefit priorities for Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterms.

Other Republicans pointed out that several so-called Democratic ‘moderates’ could also eventually hesitate or refuse to support both spending bills because they will be concerned about how voters will feel about the measures as the midterms loom larger in the coming months.

The AP also noted that two of the Democrats are Sens. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Mark Kelly of Arizona.

“I think it puts their members more on the defensive – and having to defend very, in my view, indefensible spending and taxing,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told the AP.

Some of the revenue-raising measures included in the bill, according to the AP and Fox Business are:

— Using about $205 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief funds;

— Raising some $87 billion in spectrum auctions for 5G service;

— Re-implementing a tax on chemical manufacturers that expired in 1995 ($13 billion, estimated) that was used to finance “Superfund” toxic clean-up sites;

— Selling oil from the nation’s strategic reserve ($6 billion).

Spending line items include:

— $110 billion for roads and bridges, with the $40 billion bridges-alone investment the largest made since the introduction of the Interstate highway system;

— $39 billion for public transit, modernizing subway and bus fleets while bringing new service to areas that don’t currently have them;

— $66 billion to improve passenger and freight rail, especially investing in Amtrack’s aging fleet of trains as well as improving the 457-mile Northeast Corridor;

— $7.5 billion to build electric vehicle charging stations;

— $65 billion to expand broadband around the country;

— $17 billion and $25 billion for ports and airports, respectively;

— $73 billion to improve the country’s power grid and expand renewable sources.

Jon Dougherty

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