116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — A proposal that would send over $4.2 billion in federal funding to Iowa for road and bridge construction and repairs received a split vote Tuesday from the state’s two U.S. senators in Washington, D.C.
Republican Chuck Grassley voted for, and Republican Joni Ernst against, the overall $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which had strong bipartisan support: it passed the Senate by a 69-30 vote, with 19 Republicans joining all Democrats in support.
The bill now heads to the U.S. House, where it faces an uncertain future, according to national media reports.
In a statement, Grassley said Iowans have raised infrastructure concerns at most of his town hall meetings, and said the bill would invest in that infrastructure and “pay dividends for decades to come.” He said the Senate compromise bill is not perfect but he believes it is superior to previous proposals from Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration and U.S. House Democrats.
“Our bipartisan package bundles several bills that have already won bipartisan action in the Senate, all without raising taxes on Iowa families. It’s proof that the Senate is fully capable of delivering on bipartisan policy when given the chance,” Grassley said in his statement.
Ernst in a statement said she voted against the bill because she says it will add to the federal debt. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the proposal would add $256 billion to projected deficits.
“While I certainly support improving America’s hard infrastructure — like our roads and bridges — I simply can’t support saddling more debt onto the shoulders of future generations of Iowans and opening the door for (Democratic U.S. Sen.) Bernie Sanders to ram through his multi-trillion dollar liberal tax-and-spending spree,” Ernst said in her statement, referring to Senate Democrats’ overall federal budget proposal, which was to be debated after the infrastructure bill.
According to Grassley’s office, the Senate proposal would direct to Iowa:
- $4.2 billion in federal funding for road projects
- $431 million for bridge projects
- $227 million for clean water projects
The bill also contains $65 billion in funding for competitive grants for broadband internet expansion projects nationally, Grassley’s office said.
“This bipartisan bill fixes potholes, rebuilds bridges, upgrades water systems and brings broadband to rural corners of our state. Investing in Iowa’s infrastructure will pay dividends for decades to come,” Grassley said in his statement.