Photo Credit: Congressman Mark Green / Facebook
The Center Square [By Jon Styf] –
As the U.S. House of Representatives moves closer to potential votes on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and social spending bill as soon as today, September 27th, several of Tennessee’s U.S. representatives are pushing back on the proposals.
The infrastructure bill, passed by the Senate on Aug. 10, included $550 million in hard infrastructure spending. Many of the Tennessee representatives said there are infrastructure needs that need to be addressed, but many also are against the spending package.
“At this point, radical Democrats are spending money for the sake of spending money,” said U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., who represents the 7th Congressional District in southwestern and middle Tennessee. “I want Tennesseans to have efficient and reliable infrastructure. The sad fact of the matter is this infrastructure bill is not paid for and will take even more money out of Tennesseans’ hard-earned paychecks. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget office, this legislation will increase the deficit by at least $256 billion over 10 years. I cannot greenlight reckless, socialist spending paid for by hardworking Tennesseans.”
U.S. Rep. Charles Fleischmann, R-Tenn., who represents the 3rd Congressional District in eastern Tennessee, opposes the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill because it will “only drive inflation higher, robbing East Tennesseans of their wages.”
Fleischmann’s staff said he does support infrastructure improvements, like Green, but Green said the bill in its current form “misses the mark completely.”
Tennessee’s two Republican U.S. senators voted against the bill when it passed the Senate, 69-30.
Sen. Bill Hagerty believed it added too much debt.
Tennessee is expected to receive $5.8 billion for federal-aid highway programs and $302 million for bridge repairs and replacement over the next five years if the bill becomes law. The state also would compete with others for competitive grants, with $12.5 billion to be awarded nationally for economically significant bridges and $16 billion to be awarded for major projects.
“Our country has real infrastructure needs, such as fixing our roads and bridges and expanding access to rural broadband, yet Democrats are packing liberal wish list items like the Green New Deal in the bill at a heavy cost to taxpayers,” said U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger, R-Tenn., who represents the 1st Congressional District in eastern Tennessee. “I could support a targeted infrastructure bill focusing on these real needs, but sadly this bill does not do that and I will be voting ‘no.’ ”
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A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Wharton business school showed that, if passed, the House Democratic plan to fund President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending bill would lead to a national economic decline.
“The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill only compounds our country’s astronomic debt and deficit,” said U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., who represents the 4th Congressional District in middle Tennessee. “This will send inflation even higher in an already downward spiraling economy. Tennesseans are feeling the impact of the Biden administration’s tax and spend policies. Our citizens are already footing the bill at the grocery store, at the gas pumps and in their paychecks as prices and taxes continue to rise as a result of the Left’s bad economic policies. This bill is bad for our country and it’s bad for Tennessee.”
U.S. Reps. Steve Cohen, David Kustoff, John Rose, Tim Burchett and Jim Cooper did not respond to requests for comment before this story was published.
About the Author: Jon Styf, The Center Square Staff Reporter – Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonStyf.