On Fox News, Portman Discusses Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, Democrats’ Reckless Tax and Spending Bill

August 13, 2021 | Portman Difference

In an interview this morning with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer, Senator Rob Portman discussed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act – landmark legislation he helped craft to upgrade and modernize America’s aging infrastructure. The legislation passed the Senate this past Tuesday by a vote of 69-30 and is now under consideration in the House of Representatives.

Portman briefly touched on the Democrats’ reckless $3.5 trillion tax and spending bill, saying it would spend too much while raising taxes.

The transcript of the interview can be found below and you can watch the interview here.

 

PORTMAN ON THE POSITIVE IMPACTS OF THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE BILL:

“First of all, it’s the right thing to do for the country. Our infrastructure is crumbling. We’ve got 46,000 bridges that need to be replaced, one of which, by the way, is in your hometown of Cincinnati right behind me. Also, it’s true that this is a bipartisan effort. That’s good for country right now, too. So there’s a definite need for us to replace infrastructure and improve infrastructure. People get that. About 86 percent of American people think we ought to be doing that. 

“Second, in terms of the economics of it, this is good for the economy. This is long-term spending. It’s not going to be spent next year or even the year after. It’s going to be spent over the next five, 10, 15, 20 years for long-term capital assets, like bridges and roads and ports and railways, also broadband infrastructure. So this is counter-inflationary as opposed to some of the spending President Biden has been pushing out there, and Democrats, which is social program spending. This is long-term spending in infrastructure.

“This is something that every president in modern times has strongly supported it and all of them have proposed doing it and we’ve never been able to get it done. In fact, Donald Trump proposed $1.5 trillion in an infrastructure package, sometimes he talked about even more than that. But frankly, I give him credit because he’s the one who got Republicans thinking about the importance of investing in infrastructure. Ours is $550 billion and it’s over a five-year period. And again, it is something that’s needed and good for the economy. It makes the economy more efficient, therefore makes it more effective, therefore brings tax revenue back into the economy.”

PORTMAN ON IF THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE BILL SAVED THE FILIBUSTER:

“First of all, Bill, I think Marc Thiessen is right. He is a conservative columnist who wrote this morning in the Washington Post that this bipartisan effort shows that you can get things done on a bipartisan basis. It is not Joe Biden’s infrastructure package. It was done by Republicans and Democrats, moderates on both sides, working together to try to figure out how do you take the Biden proposal, which you recall was $2.65 trillion, with huge tax increases, the biggest tax increases in American history, and a lot of stuff that was not core infrastructure, and we said, ‘Let’s pull out the core infrastructure out of this,’ which again everybody wants to do – Republicans and Democrats want to invest in infrastructure. That ended up being about $550 billion out of the $2.65 trillion.

And we said, ‘Second, let’s take all of the tax increases out of it,’ so we did. And that’s what this is right now, what this bipartisan package represents. The reason Marc Thiessen thinks it’s good, in terms of saving the filibuster, is that right now the 60-vote margin is necessary to get things done. Under a filibuster, that would go away and the Democrats would be able to pass all sorts of bad legislation, including making D.C. a state and changing the Supreme Court and so on. What the Democrats have argued is nothing can get done with 60 votes anymore. Well that’s not true. We just proved that it can get done and frankly we’ve given confidence to members like Joe Manchin, like Kyrsten Sinema, who are more moderate Democrats, who don’t want to get rid of the filibuster – but now they’ve got an argument. Frankly, those of us who believe that Democrats ought not to get rid of the filibuster have an argument that we can get our work done. It requires some concessions on both sides.

“In terms of the invasive plants on highways, that would be the interstate highway systems only, so that would not be the local ones. Frankly, I don’t know if that ended up staying in the bill but that’s an example where our interstate highway system does needs work. For those who have waited in line for rush hour, they’d rather be home spending more time with kids or getting to work sooner, it’s going to help. It’s going to help our roads and bridges and ports and our railways, and broadband is a huge issue in Ohio and other states.”

PORTMAN ON WHETHER OR NOT HE THINKS DEMOCRATS CAN PASS THEIR $3.5 TRILLION SPENDING BILL:

“Boy I sure hope not. It’s a terrible bill, it has huge tax increases and a whole lot of spending. Both Senator Sinema and Senator Manchin have said after the infrastructure bill passed that they cannot support legislation at that level. These nine Democrats, moderate Democrats, who just sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi have said, ‘We need to vote on the infrastructure package, that’s what we like.’ They have deep concerns about the $3.5 trillion. I’ll let them speak for themselves but it would be terrible for America. It really would.”

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