The writers are Democratic members of the House of Representatives from Georgia, Hawaii, California, Texas, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon.
The challenge we face right now is that there is a standoff with some of our colleagues who have decided to hold the infrastructure bill hostage for months, or kill it altogether, if they don’t get what they want in the next bill — a largely undefined $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. While we have concerns about the level of spending and potential revenue raisers, we are open to immediate consideration of that package.
But we are firmly opposed to holding the president’s infrastructure legislation hostage to reconciliation, risking its passage and the bipartisan support behind it.
We can walk and chew gum, just as the Senate did. We can pass the infrastructure measure now, and then quickly consider reconciliation and the policies from climate to health care to universal pre-K that we believe are critical.
Across this country, far too many communities are struggling with crumbling roads and structurally unsound bridges, outrageous congestion, lead-coated pipes and no broadband access. You don’t hold up a major priority of the country, and millions of jobs, as some form of leverage. The infrastructure bill is not a political football.
When we ran in our districts, we promised our constituents that we would work across the aisle to solve their problems responsibly; that we would focus on bringing back jobs, building our economy, investing in infrastructure and tackling existential threats such as climate change. The bipartisan infrastructure bill delivers just that — thoughtful policy that will make historic investments in transit, rail, roads, bridges and tunnels — and water and wastewater. It will overhaul our electric grid and invest in broadband, electric vehicles and climate resilience. This bill represents a trillion-dollar investment for America’s physical infrastructure, and will create 2 million new jobs a year for the next decade.
This infrastructure bill was crafted the way most of us imagine legislation should be developed: with a bipartisan group of legislators in the House and Senate working together, negotiating and finding common ground. That’s what governing is about, and America is thirsty for it, especially after the past four years. The infrastructure bill has broad support — by both the Chamber of Commerce and organized labor, including the AFL-CIO and local building trades. Now, we are urging House leadership and the president to move this trillion-dollar, once-in-a-century measure through the House quickly, sign the bill, and get shovels in the ground and people to work.
We hear often in D.C. that we need big policy changes that “meet the moment.” This once-in-a-century infrastructure bill does just that: It meets the actual moment we are in. It is bipartisan at a moment when we are deeply divided. It will add jobs, build the economy, fix our crumbling infrastructure and help tackle climate change. Let’s take the win for American workers, and the nation, and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill.