(The Center Square) – Seven of Missouri’s eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 when it passed 228-206 last Friday.
Cori Bush, a Democrat representing the First District in St. Louis, voted against the bill along with six other House Democrats: Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat representing the Fifth District in Kansas City and western Missouri, was the only Missouri Congressman to vote for the legislation.
“A vote in favor of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act alone would have jeopardized our leverage to improve the livelihood of our health care workers, our children, our caregivers, our seniors, and the future of our environment,” Bush said in a statement the day after the vote. “That’s why I joined several of my close colleagues in standing firm behind our promise to our districts and the American people that we will not leave our communities behind."
The Senate voted 69-30 to pass the bill in August. Missouri’s Republican Senators split with Josh Hawley voting against and Roy Blunt, who will retire next year, voting for the bill.
Fact sheets provided in August by the White House highlighted the following to be spent in Missouri over five years:
- $6.5 billion for highways and $484 million for bridge replacement and repairs;
- $677 million to improve public transportation options across the state;
- $99 million to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state and an opportunity to apply for $2.5 billion in additional grants;
- $100 million to provide broadband coverage across the state, including to approximately 330,000 Missourians without access;
- help low-income families – approximately 26% of Missourians – afford Internet access.
“If you had told me at this time last year that President Biden would be able to corral Democrats and Republicans in Congress to come together and pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package – something that has been discussed for years now but never realized – I would have offered to drive you to the nearest mental health professional,” Rep. Cleaver said in a statement. “The passage of this landmark legislation is truly historic and a credit to the ability of President Biden to bring Congress and the American people together.”
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Republican representing Missouri’s Third District in the western portion of the St. Louis region, said the legislation doesn’t improve traditional infrastructure.
“Republicans and Democrats can both agree that America’s traditional infrastructure – roads, waterways, bridges, railways, broadband – needs improving,” Luetkemeyer said in a statement. “But House Democrats’ ‘infrastructure’ bill is nothing more than the Green New Deal 2.0 and a pathway to their massive socialist spending bill that would raise taxes on small businesses, cut taxes for the wealthiest 1%, and cost the American taxpayer trillions of dollars.”
Missouri’s two female Republican members of the House posted comments on social media.
“I voted against the ‘infrastructure’ bill because I vehemently oppose the Democrats' socialist takeover,” Ann Wagner, who represents the Second District in St. Louis’ southern region, posted on Twitter.
“Washington Democrats continue to go down this road that is ruining this country, and the American people say 'no more!'" Vicky Hartzler, who represents the Fourth District in central and southwestern Missouri and is running for Blunt’s U.S. Senate seat, posted on Twitter.
Republican Rep. Sam Graves, representing Missouri's Sixth District in the northern third of the state, said on Facebook he didn't vote for the bill because it wasn't properly funded and doesn't address "real infrastructure."
"I voted for the last four infrastructure bills passed into law," Graves wrote. "All were paid for. All were overwhelmingly bipartisan. They were signed into law by Republican and Democrat presidents.
"This thing looks more like the Green New Deal than an infrastructure bill. It piles on the deficit and it's going to fuel even more out-of-control inflation. This is nothing more than a huge slush fund for President Biden to spend on his liberal priorities."
Republican Reps. Billy Long and Jason Smith didn’t post comments pertaining to the bill on their websites or Twitter.