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Author Topic: Infrastructure Bill 2021  (Read 20278 times)

kalvado

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #125 on: August 16, 2021, 09:05:15 AM »

Wear is proportional to the fourth power of the weight.

An average car weighs 2,871 pounds.
(2871+250×4)⁴ / (2871+100×4)⁴ = 1.96: not insignificant, but that's for four people at 250 lb vs. 100 lb, which is the maximum reasonable case.

However, compare this to pickup truck vs. regular car.

6000⁴ / 2871⁴ = 19 times as much wear, and unlike semis, pickup trucks aren't limited in which roads or lanes they can use.
Remember to add Tesla to your comparison
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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #126 on: August 16, 2021, 09:10:11 AM »

It is interesting to see how a topic goes from tangent to tangent to tangent. I once did a Wiki tangent from U.S. Grant to the Milwaukee Bridge Wars to Hank Williams Jr in a span of 3 hours. Don't ask.
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kalvado

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #127 on: August 16, 2021, 01:26:53 PM »

Trying to steer back to the bill. An interesting quote from syracuse.com article, primarily in connection with I-81 construction
Quote
The bill [ ... ]  will make permanent a provision that allows governments to require contractors to staff transportation projects with a certain amount of local workers.
[..]
 allows that targeted hiring to give priority to certain workers: People who’ve been out of work for a while. Low-income earners. People with disabilities. People who were incarcerated.

Is it just me who is becoming concerned about the quality of those builds?

https://www.syracuse.com/state/2021/08/1t-infrastructure-bill-strengthens-local-hiring-rules-for-projects-like-i-81-in-syracuse.html
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Avalanchez71

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #128 on: August 16, 2021, 02:45:18 PM »

Trying to steer back to the bill. An interesting quote from syracuse.com article, primarily in connection with I-81 construction
Quote
The bill [ ... ]  will make permanent a provision that allows governments to require contractors to staff transportation projects with a certain amount of local workers.
[..]
 allows that targeted hiring to give priority to certain workers: People who’ve been out of work for a while. Low-income earners. People with disabilities. People who were incarcerated.

Is it just me who is becoming concerned about the quality of those builds?

https://www.syracuse.com/state/2021/08/1t-infrastructure-bill-strengthens-local-hiring-rules-for-projects-like-i-81-in-syracuse.html

What ever happened to the best man/woman for the job?
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MCRoads

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #129 on: August 19, 2021, 12:24:37 AM »

I have a question:
Will the feds pay states the remaining funds for projects that were previously given partial funding under old legislation? My example would be the HRBT expansion, a $3.8B dollar project that only got a small percentage of that in federal funding. I know that not all of the project could possibly be paid for by this bill, but I imagine a god portion of it could (say, $1B, about 25% of the cost. Still a lot, but this is one of the largest highway projects in the US, certainly right now, maybe in history).
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Rothman

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #130 on: August 19, 2021, 08:02:15 AM »



I have a question:
Will the feds pay states the remaining funds for projects that were previously given partial funding under old legislation? My example would be the HRBT expansion, a $3.8B dollar project that only got a small percentage of that in federal funding. I know that not all of the project could possibly be paid for by this bill, but I imagine a god portion of it could (say, $1B, about 25% of the cost. Still a lot, but this is one of the largest highway projects in the US, certainly right now, maybe in history).

For the most part, federal funding is not tied to specific projects (outside of grants and earmarks -- formula funds are the vast majority of a state's available funds).  That said, it is rare for any type of federal funds to outright expire -- even when legislation decrees it.  There's usually a way to wriggle out of such restrictions by submitting extension requests and the like.

But, partial funding of a particular project in the past is by no means any guarantee that the Feds will come through with the rest of the funding for the rest of design or construction.  As a matter of fact, the majority of earmarked funds were woefully inadequate and instead of funding the rest of the project, over the past few years FHWA allowed the repurposing of underused or unused earmarks to different purposes.
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ilpt4u

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #131 on: August 19, 2021, 01:03:51 PM »

Trying to steer back to the bill. An interesting quote from syracuse.com article, primarily in connection with I-81 construction
Quote
The bill [ ... ]  will make permanent a provision that allows governments to require contractors to staff transportation projects with a certain amount of local workers.
[..]
 allows that targeted hiring to give priority to certain workers: People who’ve been out of work for a while. Low-income earners. People with disabilities. People who were incarcerated.

Is it just me who is becoming concerned about the quality of those builds?

https://www.syracuse.com/state/2021/08/1t-infrastructure-bill-strengthens-local-hiring-rules-for-projects-like-i-81-in-syracuse.html
What ever happened to the best man/woman for the job?
Because the Political Machine and DOTs can develop, either naturally thru human interactions or thru “favored” mechanisms to favor a certain contractor or company, with little regard to their competency or ability.

I see it locally: The same pavement contractor seemingly gets 90+% of road/bridge construction contracts, whether IDOT or Local. Do they do good work? Sure. Does anyone else even have a chance to get the jobs? No idea. Part of our human condition favors the familiar over trying something different. Then there is the whole other concept of being Politically Connected…
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #132 on: August 23, 2021, 07:10:21 PM »

Sigh, it looks like Pelosi has set both the hard and soft infrastructure bills for October first.

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/pelosi-sets-oct-1-target-infrastructure-biden-spending-bill-2021-08-22/
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ctkatz

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #133 on: August 24, 2021, 07:24:05 PM »

I'm actually a little excited about a non road based project, amtrak expansion. a line is planned to run from chicago to louisville. I'd like to take a train to the west coast and then rent a car to drive back home.

im all for the interstate highway system and road tripping but for some people who are not interested in flying and the mess that entails passenger rail and high speed passenger rail is a great alternative for those on a time crunch.
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LM117

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #134 on: August 24, 2021, 07:37:30 PM »

The deadline for voting on the bipartisan bill in the House has been set for September 27.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/amid-turmoil-democrats-delay-house-vote-infrastructure-budget-bills-n1277516
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ITB

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #135 on: September 03, 2021, 09:30:20 PM »


CNBC has assembled some charts detailing the breakdown of how much money each state might receive from the 2021 infrastructure bill. As expected, the states with the largest populations accrue the most money, but several less populated states gain more money per capita. California and Texas, as usual, lead the pack, each estimated to receive $44.56 and $35.44 billion, respectfully. New York comes in third, projected to receive $26.92 billion.

The CNBC story and charts, as well as the complete list of projected allocations for all states, can be accessed here.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #136 on: September 21, 2021, 03:56:05 PM »

I don’t know if it’s just me but I really feel like we’re getting setup to see the larger bill pass and the actual infrastructure bill thrown under the water. Nancy seems more focused on the soft bill and I’ve long figured even mentioning that with the hard bill is enough to piss off enough house members to simply vote against both due to that fact. I really hope I’m wrong but I see that in this article as well:

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/09/21/house-gop-infrastructure-count-513230
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Rick Powell

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #137 on: September 21, 2021, 05:41:12 PM »

I see it locally: The same pavement contractor seemingly gets 90+% of road/bridge construction contracts, whether IDOT or Local. Do they do good work? Sure. Does anyone else even have a chance to get the jobs? No idea. Part of our human condition favors the familiar over trying something different. Then there is the whole other concept of being Politically Connected…
Construction contracts for IDOT are based on lowest responsible bid, so theoretically anyone has a shot who is qualified and doesn't mess up their bid. In your area of the state there are few contractors equipped to handle the variety and size of work, and far away contractors have to bid mobilization and staffing from afar into their bid (as well as access to materials like asphalt which the local contractor may control) if they want to chase non-local work, so there is less natural competition.
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Scott5114

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #138 on: September 21, 2021, 05:51:10 PM »

Warning: this is a political post. Please note that I am not attempting to endorse any of the views of any of the players here, but rather to explain the wheeling and dealing that is going on at the moment.

I don’t know if it’s just me but I really feel like we’re getting setup to see the larger bill pass and the actual infrastructure bill thrown under the water. Nancy seems more focused on the soft bill and I’ve long figured even mentioning that with the hard bill is enough to piss off enough house members to simply vote against both due to that fact. I really hope I’m wrong but I see that in this article as well:

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/09/21/house-gop-infrastructure-count-513230

So what's happening here is a reflection of the fact that the modern Democratic Party is kind of two parties in one. You have the traditional neoliberal wing that is made up of folks who cut their teeth during the Clinton administration. Most of the experienced politicians, and thus Democratic leadership (Biden, Schumer, Pelosi), are from this wing of the party.  Then you have the progressive wing. These are mostly younger, less experienced politicians who are further to the left than the liberal wing and favor bolder reforms. This wing includes your Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and "the Squad" types. This type of Democrat is somewhat new on the scene; they started to become relevant around the 2016 election as a result of frustration that the Obama administration did not do enough to further its goals, instead getting lost in the weeds chasing Republican support that never came.

The neoliberal wing is mostly concerned with the hard bill. Improving physical infrastructure is broadly popular, and theoretically they should be able to get Republican support for it. The progressive wing is more interested in the soft bill. It contains at least the first steps toward a lot of the big social changes they are wanting to see happen.

At one point, both the hard and soft bills were merged into one big bill. Senate leadership decided to break the bill into two parts, hard and soft, to make it easier to pass. Since hard infrastructure is broadly popular, they did manage to get 19 votes from the Republicans and it passed 69-30. The bill went to the House, and that's where it is now. So the Democratic leadership and the liberals got what they want. The progressives aren't as concerned about the hard bill—they have no real objection to it (other than the fact that maybe some of them don't care for the highway funding; most of them represent dense cities where New Urbanism is the prevailing ideology) but they can live with it and wouldn't mind passing it if they got their soft bill.

Enter Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). They are the furthest-right Democrats, which makes sense because they represent a red state and what used to be a red state when she was elected, respectively. They want to show the conservative voter base in their states that they don't like wasteful spending and big-government overreach so they can get re-elected. And they don't like the soft bill. The problem is because Democrats only have 50 votes in the Senate, they need both Manchin and Sinema on board for anything they want to do, or else find Republican support to replace them, but none of the Republicans like the soft bill either.

So the House progressives see party leadership getting all of the stuff they wanted, while the stuff they care about is being left to twist in the wind. And this was kind of by design—after all, if the bill had been left in one piece instead of split there would have been no way for Manchin et al to vote against community college funding without also voting against highway funding, which would have made him look bad. So now, the progressive wing is using the only leverage they have, which is to say "we will torpedo leadership's shiny new hard infrastructure bill unless we also get our soft bill too".

So what Pelosi has to do is publicly walk the fine line and try to keep the progressives' eye on the prize while making them feel that leadership hears and values their concerns—"vote for our infrastructure bill and you will get your infrastructure bill too"—while also not having any actual control over the forces that might torpedo the soft bill, since those are in the Senate and kind of immune to any real consequences (Sinema could easily be dispatched in a primary, but Manchin has been in West Virginia politics for years, and any other Democrat has a snowball's chance in Texas of winning statewide in West Virginia).

There's basically no universe in which the soft bill passes and the hard bill fails. The paths forward are:
  • The soft bill passes and that makes the progressives happy enough that they vote for the hard bill too.
  • The soft bill fails. The hard bill fails too because the progressives decide that if they can't have what they want, nobody can.
  • The soft bill fails. The hard bill passes on the backing of only liberals and garners enough Republican votes that the progressives don't actually matter.
  • Pelosi tries to force the hard bill through before the final disposition of the soft bill is known. All hell breaks loose unless Pelosi can finesse some sort of guarantee that the progressives' wishes will be addressed in short order. Otherwise, they'll balk and vote against it, which probably results in both bills failing since Republicans will want to distance themselves from the shitshow. Pelosi isn't stupid and knows this option is the most likely to blow up in her face, which is why she's been stalling for time on the hard bill.

Which outcome is most likely seems to change from day to day. My guess is that the most likely option is #3, followed by #1. But the devil's in the details, and the person with the most control over the outcome at this point is not Nancy Pelosi, but Joe Manchin.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2021, 03:00:44 AM by Scott5114 »
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #139 on: September 21, 2021, 06:01:13 PM »

Scott, thanks for that in depth analysis. That is encouraging. I frankly have not really been up to speed in *everything* the soft bill includes which I do know is more social safety net type stuff. I need to read more about it but I’ve been focused on the hard bill as it could be a game changer. Hopefully passes and soon.
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hbelkins

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #140 on: September 21, 2021, 09:05:49 PM »

The evolution of West Virginia into a "red state" is fairly new and somewhat parallels Kentucky's progress in this area. I can remember when Arch Moore, a former Republican governor from my youth, was somewhat of a novelty. West Virginia's entire federal delegation was made up of Democrats when I was a kid, and the state legislature was dominated by them. The current governor, Jim Justice, ran and won as a Democrat and only changed parties once in office.

I'm certainly no expert on West Virginia politics, but as someone whose family's roots are there and someone who lives far enough east in Kentucky to get some media bleedover, it's been interesting to watch from a distance. West Virginia is, and to the best of my knowledge always has been, conservative on moral and cultural issues, but very much a liberal state when it comes to government spending (Robert Byrd, anyone?). Gas taxes there have always been consistently higher than neighbors in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

But keep in mind that you have a very rural section of the state in the southern region, an industrialized section in the north, and an exurb of the federal district in the far east. Manchin has to balance all of that, and he's a former governor so he has a good read on the state.

I'm still trying to figure out Sinema. Conservatives were dead-set against her when she ran.

At any rate, I've been witness to an interesting discussion over exactly what constitutes "infrastructure" in which one of the participants is Congressman Thomas Massie, the libertarian-leaning Republican who graduated from MIT and lives on a self-sustaining farm near the Ohio River in Lewis County. He's not opposed to funding an additional bridge to complement the Brent Spence, which is in his district, but there's a bunch of other stuff in the bill he doesn't like.
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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #141 on: September 21, 2021, 10:06:03 PM »

The evolution of West Virginia into a "red state" is fairly new and somewhat parallels Kentucky's progress in this area. I can remember when Arch Moore, a former Republican governor from my youth, was somewhat of a novelty. West Virginia's entire federal delegation was made up of Democrats when I was a kid, and the state legislature was dominated by them. The current governor, Jim Justice, ran and won as a Democrat and only changed parties once in office.

People usually define red/blue by which way they vote for President. In general, state-level changes lag presidential changes.
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Scott5114

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #142 on: September 22, 2021, 01:49:43 AM »

The evolution of West Virginia into a "red state" is fairly new and somewhat parallels Kentucky's progress in this area. I can remember when Arch Moore, a former Republican governor from my youth, was somewhat of a novelty. West Virginia's entire federal delegation was made up of Democrats when I was a kid, and the state legislature was dominated by them. [...] West Virginia is, and to the best of my knowledge always has been, conservative on moral and cultural issues, but very much a liberal state when it comes to government spending (Robert Byrd, anyone?).

This mostly has to do with the ongoing "switch" between Democrats and Republicans that's been going on since the 1960s. Before the 1960s, the Republican party was the big business party and the Democrats were more in favor of social programs like the New Deal, but other than that, many of their positions were reversed from the present day. It's taken quite a while for state-level politics to catch up.

You see a similar trend in Oklahoma politics—solid Democratic state until Lyndon B. Johnson, then voted for Richard Nixon and hasn't gone blue for President once since then. Same goes with the Governor—all Democrats from statehood in 1907 on until 1962, when we elected our first Republican, Henry Bellmon. Oklahoma has only had five Republican governors, but since the fourth one (Fallin) was elected in 2010 they've had a lock on statewide office, and it seems unlikely we'll see another Democratic governor for a long time.

I'm still trying to figure out Sinema. Conservatives were dead-set against her when she ran.

Everyone's trying to figure out Sinema, even her own staffers. I've read social media posts from people who worked for her in her campaigns that are entirely baffled by her Senate record because it doesn't square with her previous positions or values at all. The prevailing theory seems to be that she is attempting to emulate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and his "maverick" reputation, without understanding why McCain did the things he did. Besides, Sinema's voting record prior to becoming a Senator was much closer to that of the Democratic party as a whole. Voting against your party because you're making a principled stand might get you grudging respect, but doing it just because you want to draw attention to how different you are makes you primary bait.



ETA: I just wanted to point out that the sort of wheeling and dealing described above is made much easier to potentially resolve by earmarks being allowed again. A "well I don't really care one way or the other but I have to vote no to look good to the people in my state" or type of no vote can sometimes become a "yes" by including funds for a project in that legislator's district or state. Then they can go back home and say "Well, yes, it was a big government spending bill, but look, I got you a new Interstate out of it." Likewise, a "I don't want to vote for the hard bill unless I get the soft bill" can potentially be neutralized by including an earmark for that legislator's district or state, because then they may be called to account for why they were voting against their constituents' interest by voting down a bill that would get them new infrastructure.   
« Last Edit: September 22, 2021, 03:10:54 AM by Scott5114 »
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hbelkins

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #143 on: September 22, 2021, 01:06:21 PM »

ETA: I just wanted to point out that the sort of wheeling and dealing described above is made much easier to potentially resolve by earmarks being allowed again. A "well I don't really care one way or the other but I have to vote no to look good to the people in my state" or type of no vote can sometimes become a "yes" by including funds for a project in that legislator's district or state. Then they can go back home and say "Well, yes, it was a big government spending bill, but look, I got you a new Interstate out of it." Likewise, a "I don't want to vote for the hard bill unless I get the soft bill" can potentially be neutralized by including an earmark for that legislator's district or state, because then they may be called to account for why they were voting against their constituents' interest by voting down a bill that would get them new infrastructure.

I'm somewhat of an anomaly among those of like ideology in that I am not only not against earmarks, I am actually in favor of them. I think someone elected from a particular district knows the needs of that area better than some DC-based bureaucrat when it comes to including items for funding.

I don't like the horse-trading that earmarking can sometimes cause to get legislators to vote for bad overall bills because they include a bone thrown to them -- "I'll vote for your bridge if you'll vote for my airport" -- and it makes it more difficult for a legislator to vote against something on overarching principle. Opponents will say, "Congressman Smith voted against improving our freeway," when in reality Congressman Smith voted against a huge spending program that just happened to include a locally beneficial public project while at the same time included a bunch of stuff like studying the mating habits of squirrels while they're high on cocaine, that benefits no one except putting money in the pockets of the researchers who get the grants.

I'm seeing some of that with the Brent Spence Bridge parallel span project. The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is pushing the infrastructure bill really hard because they think it might fund the bridge without tolls, but they're running into opposition from within their own party constituency because of a bunch of superfluous stuff.
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Scott5114

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #144 on: September 22, 2021, 04:18:02 PM »

I'm somewhat of an anomaly among those of like ideology in that I am not only not against earmarks, I am actually in favor of them. I think someone elected from a particular district knows the needs of that area better than some DC-based bureaucrat when it comes to including items for funding.

I don't like the horse-trading that earmarking can sometimes cause to get legislators to vote for bad overall bills because they include a bone thrown to them -- "I'll vote for your bridge if you'll vote for my airport" -- and it makes it more difficult for a legislator to vote against something on overarching principle.

Well, that exact kind of earmark horse-trading is about the only thing that gets anything done. It's no accident that when earmarks were banned in 2011, the number of bills passed by Congress dropped:


Opponents will say, "Congressman Smith voted against improving our freeway," when in reality Congressman Smith voted against a huge spending program that just happened to include a locally beneficial public project while at the same time included a bunch of stuff like studying the mating habits of squirrels while they're high on cocaine, that benefits no one except putting money in the pockets of the researchers who get the grants.

You know they only do that because studying the mating habits of humans while they're high on cocaine is unethical, right?
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Scott5114

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #145 on: September 23, 2021, 10:31:45 PM »

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Republican Minority Whip, is telling his caucus that House Republican leadership is opposed to the infrastructure bill and is trying to convince Republicans to vote against it. Meanwhile, Axios is reporting that, in a highly unusual move, Republican senators that worked on and/or voted for the bill (Portman [OH], Romney [UT], Collins [ME], Cassidy [LA], Murkowski [AK]) are going behind leadership's back to try to whip them to vote for it!

I have no idea how this is likely to turn out, as this is the first time since I've been watching politics that I've seen this particular situation.

House vote is scheduled for Monday.
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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #146 on: September 23, 2021, 10:43:00 PM »

You’d think Louisiana would be the last state that would vote against more infrastructure funding lol
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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #147 on: September 23, 2021, 10:49:44 PM »

You’d think Louisiana would be the last state that would vote against more infrastructure funding lol

If it were actually all infrastructure funding yes, but its doubtful much of this is going to end up in real infrastructure.
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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #148 on: September 23, 2021, 11:25:33 PM »

You’d think Louisiana would be the last state that would vote against more infrastructure funding lol

You'd think, but when it comes time to vote, it's more about how it will look to people back home than it is about what's actually best for the state. Vote against wasteful spending (i.e. any spending you don't personally like), vote against anything the President does if he's not in your party so you can keep him from getting a win.

Besides being a rep from Louisiana, Scalise is also Minority Whip, which makes him part of Republican leadership. If he wants to keep that spot, he also has to keep his boss, Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), happy. McCarthy seems to have decided that his team will do better next November, and therefore he will become Speaker, if they defeat the bill, so Scalise is following the boss's orders.

You see similar maneuvering among the rank and file members. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and John Boozman (R-AR) both sponsored the amendment to the infrastructure bill to get US-412 upgraded to Interstate status, but then voted against the amended bill. This allows them to tell voters both that they got their state road money and also that they voted against "Biden's wasteful spending". They figure nobody is actually going to look up the details and will just take their advertising at face value.
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TheHighwayMan394

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Re: Infrastructure Bill 2021
« Reply #149 on: September 23, 2021, 11:32:06 PM »

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Republican Minority Whip, is telling his caucus that House Republican leadership is opposed to the infrastructure bill and is trying to convince Republicans to vote against it. Meanwhile, Axios is reporting that, in a highly unusual move, Republican senators that worked on and/or voted for the bill (Portman [OH], Romney [UT], Collins [ME], Cassidy [LA], Murkowski [AK]) are going behind leadership's back to try to whip them to vote for it!

I have no idea how this is likely to turn out, as this is the first time since I've been watching politics that I've seen this particular situation.

House vote is scheduled for Monday.

Might explain why suddenly after being stalled out for two weeks that the Senate Dems announced a tentative agreement on the soft bill - some "oh shits" that the irritated House progressives willing to sink the ship over not getting their soft bill might be able to torpedo the hard bill in concert with the GOP's own need to block Biden could have motivated Biden/Schumer to blink in the Manchin/Synema stalemate.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2021, 11:34:54 PM by TheHighwayMan394 »
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