NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — There’s both praise and disapproval coming from Tennessee congressional lawmakers following the announcement from the White House and a bipartisan group of Senators that a $1.2 trillion infrastructure framework – including how to pay for it – was reached.
It was a rare bipartisan Washington deal.
“I certainly like everything we’ve got in it; Memphis is America’s distribution center, and the need for money for airports, for river ports, for roads, bridges, tunnels, and broadband is so important for us,” Memphis Rep. Steve Cohen said.
The agreement is short of President Joe Biden’s initial request of $2 trillion, but it also provides investments in public transit, water infrastructure, and electric vehicles.
“It’s a large amount of money, $1.2 trillion dollars. It’s bipartisan, which means it could get the votes to get through,” Cohen said.
However, East Tennessee Republican Rep. Tim Burchett isn’t buying the agreement.
Burchett released this statement:
“This isn’t an agreement, and it isn’t credible if you ask me. A small group of Senators negotiated this and nobody in the House is taking it seriously. Nancy Pelosi is running the show and will use this to push her expensive liberal agenda.”
Spending isn’t something Democrats are running away from. The $1.2 trillion is just part of the goal. Democrats want to expand infrastructure into human infrastructure, which could cost between 3 and 6 trillion dollars according to plans being considered.
“This is important to give seniors home health care, to give seniors opportunity to get the care they need, and the expenses of senior care, childcare, and the expenses for childcare and education — that’s very important,” Cohen said.
The exact language of the framework for a traditional infrastructure bill is still being figured out, but Democrats said the two proposals must move at the same time.
“I think that they’ll be enough to get 60, and I think that’ll convince Manchin and Sinema to vote for a budget reconciliation which they did for the rescue bill and what Republicans used for Trump’s tax scam back in 2017, to get the votes there,” Cohen said.
“As Senator Hagerty continues to review the infrastructure deal framework, he applauds the work of his colleagues for advancing this issue in a serious way, but he was extremely discouraged to see President Biden flip flop and threaten ultimatums with not signing this bipartisan package if he doesn’t receive the partisan, $6 trillion spending spree that Democrats are going to use to advance the Green New Deal, punitive tax hikes, and other items on their anti-business wish list at the same time. The Senator believes Congress has an opportunity to focus on hard infrastructure—roads, bridges, waterways—that offers a real return on investment, but will Democrats and President Biden seize it or squander it? That’s the question.” — Judd Deere, Spokesperson