116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
So Eastern Iowa’s Republican members of Congress, 1st District Rep. Ashley Hinson and 2nd District Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, voted against a bipartisan infrastructure bill that will bring billions of dollars to the state for highways, bridges, water infrastructure and other needs.
But in doing so they stayed in the good graces of Donald Trump and his fervent faithful in the U.S. House. And in the context of succeeding in the current Trump Republican Party, that’s priceless.
“Very sad that the RINOs in the House and Senate gave Biden and Democrats a victory on the ‘Non-Infrastructure’ Bill, where only 11% of the money being wasted goes to real infrastructure,” Trump said in a statement last Sunday, blatantly lying about the bill. “How about all of those Republican Senators that voted thinking that helping the Democrats is such a wonderful thing to do, so politically correct.”
Iowa U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley was among GOP senators who voted in favor of the bill.
“I would think we oughta pass this roads and bridges and locks and dams and airport bills and internet bill, those are investments. We’ve got the votes to pass it, we ought to pass it and get it to the president and let the president have a victory,” Grassley told KCII radio in late October.
You would think Grassley’s endorsement of the bill would have provided enough cover for Hinson and Miller-Meeks to also vote in favor of a package that clearly would benefit their districts. But bucking Trump and his passionate House enablers was apparently too big a risk.
After all, retribution for the 13 House Republicans who voted yes has been swift.
“I love all the House Republicans. Well, actually I don’t love all of you. I don’t love the 13 that voted for Biden’s infrastructure plan,” Trump said during a private House GOP event in Florida this past week, according to the Washington Post.
The same report details how Trump loyalists in the House have loudly criticized members who voted for the bill. There have been calls to strip them of committee assignments. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who voted yes, received a phone message expressing hopes that he and his family will die.
“These people voted for Joe Biden, for an infrastructure bill that will clear the way for more socialist spending that will, quite frankly, gives Joe Biden a win,” former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Stephen Bannon’s podcast, supporting the idea of stripping committee assignments.
Hinson and Miller-Meeks are singing from the same hymnal.
“I have been calling for a fully-funded bipartisan bill that would improve our bridges, roads, broadband, locks, dams, broadband, and the electric grid. I will not support a bill that is directly tied to a multi-trillion dollar reckless tax and spend package that increases inflation and had no Republican input, even though Congress is evenly divided,” Miller-Meeks said in a statement Nov. 5.
But the bills at issue, the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a separate Democratic-backed budget reconciliation measure with billions in new social spending, were not actually “tied” together. They were connected only through efforts on the Democratic side of the aisle to gain progressive votes. But Republicans were free to vote for infrastructure and oppose reconciliation.
The infrastructure bill is expected to be signed by the president Monday. The reconciliation bill’s fate remains in limbo.
“Too often in Washington, the potential for important, bipartisan policy is torpedoed by partisan politics. The need to make meaningful investments in our nation’s real infrastructure — roads and bridges, locks and dams, and broadband — was sacrificed to advance a partisan, socialist spending spree,” Hinson said in a Nov. 8 statement.
Once again, with feeling, the infrastructure bill was not “sacrificed” or “torpedoed.”
Hinson didn’t like what was in the bill, including $30 billion in potential funding for Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor. Those coastal elites can walk to work.
Hinson didn’t like what was missing from the infrastructure bill, including “necessary investments in Iowa’s biofuel industry.” Since when is biofuels processing “real” infrastructure?
And the bill makes a $7.5 billion investment in electric vehicle infrastructure. That could mean less demand for ethanol. Corn fuel must be protected at all costs.
And also socialism, which is mentioned four times in her statement.
“It’s the biggest leap toward socialism this nation has ever seen — it takes the Marxist ideology that once only existed in textbooks and makes it law in the United States of America,” Hinson said of the reconciliation bill, which, again, was not tied to the infrastructure bill.
Clearly, our hyperbole infrastructure is robust.
Hinson talks a lot about the need for flood control. The infrastructure bill includes $50 billion to help communities become more resilient in the face of climate change, including flood protection. Consider that next time she visits the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids for a photo op.
Hinson and Miller-Meeks should have voted for the infrastructure bill. It’s popular, bipartisan and makes needed investments in Iowa. Instead, they decided to make a political calculation that would keep them in good standing in the Trump GOP. Denying Democrats a win was more important than delivering for their districts. It’s sad, but hardly surprising.
Much has been written about how Republican Glenn Youngkin won the governor’s race in Virginia by keeping Trump “at arm’s length.” Iowa is not Virginia. Top Republicans in Iowa continue to embrace Trump and Trumpism with all their might, no matter how much it hurts their constituents.
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