Lawmakers debate future infrastructure bills
UPDATED 9:05 AM PT – Saturday, January 30, 2021
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle showed excitement over a potential infrastructure bill. During The Hill’s ‘Reset 2021 Event’ on Friday, a group of Democrats and Republicans gathered virtually to discuss American infrastructure.
According to reports, lawmakers have been working towards developing an infrastructure plan for some time now, though they have newfound optimism about passing a package in 2021. However, disagreements remain along party lines about what should be included in the bill.
A notable speaker at the event was Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who said these initiatives need to be a national effort. Democrats also called for dramatic environmental reforms to be included in an infrastructure bill.
“Anything we do, and I think people acknowledge this, has to be bipartisan,” Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said. “Certainly, if we’re going to do a big climate-related bill — something that is really going to address climate change and change the behavior of polluters — a carbon fee, I think, is the best way to do that.”
However, Republicans argued funding must be targeted when it comes to bills of this nature. For example, funding could be acquired from mechanisms that don’t include an increase in the federal gas tax.
“I think we need to pivot to something a little more equitable, something that brings in those dollars from individuals using the roads and bridges and get those dollars in as part of the process,” Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) “It’s a user fee is what it is, and we have a lot of people using that infrastructure that aren’t paying for it.”
While the two parties may not necessarily agree on what to include in the legislation, there is strong bipartisan support for passing an infrastructure bill during this 117th Congress.