DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, expressed diverging opinions about the infrastructure bill that passed Congress last week and was signed by President Joe Biden on Monday afternoon.
U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, during a press call last Friday, called the infrastructure bill that passed Congress last week “a raw deal for Iowans.”
Hinson said she did want to see targeted infrastructure spending.
“Realistically, I want to continue to see project investments in roads and bridges, locks and dams, and broadband. Those are the areas that I want to see targeted spending in, specifically here in Iowa. That’s what people are telling me they need. Rural broadband is still an absolute necessity that we focus on that. I know we are having federal investment and state investment and private investment, and that is absolutely how it should be,” she said.
Hinson said she made her opposition to the infrastructure bill that passed “very clear.”
“When you look at how this process played out with the infrastructure package, it was that these two bills (infrastructure and the Build Back Better reconciliation bill) were linked together from the get-go. And the package deal in whole was a raw deal for Iowans,” she argued. “So targeted infrastructure spending is where we need to be. And unfortunately, having those two bills tied together was a poison pill and a raw deal for Iowans.”
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, voted for the infrastructure bill splitting Iowa’s U.S. Senate votes as U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, voted against the bill.
During his weekly public affairs program on Monday, he said, for at least half of the spending in the infrastructure package, there was “no surprise.”
“When when you think of the fact that half of that $1 trillion, is money that would have been spent through the normal appropriation process anyway, just as a way of expending the gas tax that comes in very regularly. You know, at least for those programs, there’s no surprise and, and I can tell you, 100 percent of it is infrastructure,” Grassley said.
He said Iowans need to be concerned about the approximately $300 million in additional money the state will receive to fix bridges.
Because 23 percent of the bridges in Iowa are structurally deficient, and nobody wants to be going over an unsafe bridge,” Grassley said.
He also said the bill would provide for road repair and broadband, which he also considers infrastructure. Grassley pointed out that confusion about the bill came from linking the infrastructure bill with additional social spending.
“When this bill passed the Senate, I think on August 5, we shut down that effort to get both bills tied together,” he said.
“If you tie these two bills together, then it’s legitimate for people to say, ‘How come only 25 percent of it is roads and highways and bridges and other infrastructure, including locks and dams, airports, seaports, all the stuff that you need to move product or to move people?'” Grassley added.