Congressman Brett Guthrie said Monday that the infrastructure bill on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk was voted on without a formal House process, which gave Republicans no input on the bill’s provisions.
Guthrie, a Bowling Green Republican, said the infrastructure bill has flaws and that lawmakers could have crafted a better bill if it had gone through the traditional House process of being vetted by committees before being brought to the floor for passage.
“If this bill had not passed, the bill would have gone back to committee, and we could have done something,” Guthrie said during a Monday interview at the Messenger-Inquirer.
The $1.2 billion infrastructure bill has the goal of providing funds to repair roads and bridges in all 50 states, while also funding projects to expand access to broadband internet. According to the White House fact sheet on the bill, other priorities include removing lead water pipes, improving public transportation infrastructure, improving airports and building charging stations for electric vehicles.
Guthrie said the bill subsidizes the building of charging stations, although private business is moving ahead on charging stations without government support.
“The market is producing that anyway,” Guthrie said.
The bill first passed the Senate over the summer and had bipartisan support, including from Sen. Mitch McConnell, the GOP’s leader in the Senate.
Thirteen House Republicans voted for the infrastructure bill when it came to a vote Friday night. Guthrie said several of those were New York and New Jersey Republicans who had specific infrastructure concerns. Guthrie voted against the bill.
“It would not have passed if the 13 had not voted for it,” Guthrie said.
Another piece of President Biden’s agenda that was not voted on Friday is the social spending bill, which covers a wide range of topics, such as education, climate change, health care and child care. Guthrie said a Joint Committee on Taxation review said the bill’s provisions would result in two million people leaving the work force.
“I don’t think it’s compassionate to pay people not to work,” Guthrie said.
If people leave the work force due to provisions in the bill, “they are not going to improve themselves or their families,” he said.
Guthrie predicted no Republicans would support the social spending bill and said House and Senate Democrats would have to decide what compromises they could tolerate.
“I think they will come up with the votes to pass something like that” in the House, said Guthrie, predicting House Democrats would likely pass the bill next week. But Senate Democrats will make changes to the bill, so the question will be if Democrats in the House accept those modifications, he said.
If the social spending bill were to fail entirely, there are things included in the bill that could pass on their own, with bipartisan support, Guthrie said.
“There are programs in there for drug pricing, and there’s bipartisan support on drug pricing,” Guthrie said. “... There are things we could do.
“What they (Congressional Democrats) have done is taken their entire legislative agenda and put it into one bill. I don’t expect any Republicans to vote for this.”
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, email@example.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse