The Louisiana Republican delegation to the United States House voted against the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill negotiated by Republican U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, of Baton Rouge, and authorized Congress on Friday night to walk towards President Joe Biden’s office.
After weeks of struggles between moderate and liberal House Democrats, the US House approved by 228 votes to 206 the Senate amendments, which Cassidy helped draft.
After a difficult week for Biden, during which his unpopularity contributed to the GOP’s electoral gains in Virginia and New Jersey, the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is widely seen as a victory for the beleaguered president.
The six representatives from Louisiana voted along party lines with U.S. Democratic Representative Troy Carter of New Orleans in agreement with the Senate changes. Republican Congressman Steve Scalise, of Jefferson; Clay Higgins, of Lafayette; Garret Graves, of Baton Rouge; Julia Letlow, of Start; and Michael Johnson, of Bossier City; were among 200 Republicans voting against the measure.
When it comes to infrastructure, Louisiana is one of the most important states in the country.
Thirteen Republicans, mostly moderate, supported the legislation, while six of the Democrats’ most left-wing members opposed it.
âWe have significantly reduced that number. I whipped against the whole package, âHouse Minority Whip Scalise told Fox News Friday night before the vote. âThey brought in the infrastructure and tied it up with this huge tax of over $ 4 trillion and the expense bill is its one big package and we’ve been actively working against that. â¦ There aren’t any moderates, by the way, they’re socialists and liberals and they finally worked together on some kind of bill. “
âThis infrastructure package will rebuild our roads and bridges, increase high-speed internet access, strengthen our electricity grid, add dike protection and improve flood resistance. After nearly every corner of our state has been hit by natural disasters in the past year, we need to have the federal investment to protect us from future storms, âCassidy said in a statement after the final vote. the House Friday evening.
The 2,700-plus-page bill allocates spending plans to a wide range using a formula that Cassidy says favors Louisiana, although its Republican MPs disagreed. Louisiana is expected to receive a significant share of $ 110 billion for roads and bridges; $ 46 billion that will be used in part to rebuild Louisiana’s eroded coasts and waterways; $ 65 billion to support energy and strengthen the electricity grid in the event of a disaster; and $ 65 billion in broadband to expand Internet access.
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A House vote on the bill’s amendments in the upper house was stalled for weeks by Liberal Democrats who feared the moderates, having gotten what they wanted, would abandon the Build Back Better Act $ 1.75 trillion, Biden’s iconic social safety net and climate change bill. After passing the infrastructure bill, the House of Representatives approved a key procedural matter early on Saturday morning that secured a vote later this month on the Build Back Better Act.
“I have done everything in my power to stop the oppressive socialist agenda, the accelerated enactment of the Democrats’ plan to dominate America,” said US Representative Clay Higgins, R-Lafayette, adding that ” no true Republican “would support the measure. âThis so-called infrastructure bill is an important part of this program. The bill is 9% roads and bridges and 91% socialist garbage. It is a losing business for Louisiana.
Congressman Mike Johnson, a Republican from Bossier City and vice-chairman of the Conservative House Republican Conference, said he would have supported a stand-alone infrastructure bill, but felt it didn’t did little more than pave the way for the “tax and spending agenda” of Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , from California.
âOur state needs as much as any other federal investment in roads, bridges, waterways and broadband, and we will continue to fight for it. It is unfortunate that these widely accepted bipartisan priorities are overshadowed by so much unrelated spending, âJohnson said.
Republican U.S. Rep. Julia Letlow of Start released a statement just before the vote: âI want to be clear, my concerns about this bill are not rooted in partisanship and are not just part of the vote. ‘a political game. I have approached this process. with an open mind, because we were promised that this legislation would transform our state. However, after careful analysis and listening to many stakeholders and constituents, I concluded that this was a bad deal for Louisiana and my district. “
Louisiana Congressman Troy Carter said the president’s decision to suspend his $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill and tie the legisla …
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Louisiana’s only Democrat in Congress, US Representative Troy Carter called the bill “transformational” for Louisiana.
“The building blocks of our nation have been falling apart for far too long, and I am so proud that tonight the House of Representatives has met on a bipartisan basis to spend this long-term investment in the founding of our nation,” said Carter, whose 2nd Congressional District stretches along the Mississippi River from New Orleans east to north of Baton Rouge.
âTransformationalâ is also the word used by the Democratic Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards. While spending is driven by federal formulas, the state government will have a say in how the estimated $ 6 billion is spent in Louisiana.
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âOver the next five years, this federal investment of nearly $ 6 billion will have a significant impact on major projects such as highways, bridges, public transportation, electric vehicle infrastructure, ports and airports,â and it will create a more resilient transportation system that can better withstand disruption from extreme weather, âEdwards said in a statement Saturday morning.
The US Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure investment and jobs law with a 69-30 vote in August.
The United States Chamber of Commerce, which represents large corporations, included Cassidy in its thanks to Congress for passing the legislation.
Cassidy said initial calculations showed Louisiana would receive about $ 6 billion for Louisiana’s roads and highways and $ 371 million for Louisiana’s revolving water fund.
Specifically, Cassidy said the following provisions would benefit Louisiana:
- Authorizes Interstate 14 Corridor: This highway will run from Georgia to Texas, which will include exits at Leesville and Alexandria via Natchez to Augusta, Georgia.
- Shortens the government approval process for large infrastructure projects by bringing together relevant agencies to reduce inefficiencies.
- With the third highest number of decaying bridge deck areas, Louisiana is expected to receive a substantial $ 40 billion share for bridges.
- A share of $ 25 billion for airport improvement projects such as expansions, facilities, planning assistance, runway reconstruction, improvement of lighting and air navigation facilities, which will help airports across the state.
- $ 9.55 billion for the ports and waterways that will assist the Port of Calcasieu, Port Fourchon, Port of New Orleans, Port of Baton Rouge, Port of South Louisiana, Port of Plaquemines and the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway.
- $ 3.2 billion for the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program to support critical road and rail projects.
- With a focus on rural and low-income communities, Louisiana is expected to receive a large chunk of the $ 65 billion for high-speed Internet access.
- Part of the $ 500 million STORM revolving fund for mitigation assistance to reduce disaster risk available to local governments in Louisiana.
- $ 7.5 billion for rebuilding US infrastructure with sustainability and equity grants that would support transportation projects of local and regional significance.
- $ 3.5 billion for projects that reduce the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program. In the last fiscal year, one-third of requests for this program came from Louisiana.
- $ 17 billion for Army Corps of Engineers infrastructure priorities includes $ 2.55 billion for construction of coastal storm risk management and hurricane and storm damage reduction projects specifically targeting states such as Louisiana, including projects from the southwest coast of Louisiana and Morganza to the Gulf.
- $ 109 million for the Louisiana Corps’ federal projects to dredge and repair damage from Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta.
- $ 808 million for the rivers and tributaries of the Mississippi.
- $ 251 million for coastal flooding and emergencies, which directly benefit Louisiana.
- $ 53 million to support local Lake Pontchartrain restoration projects.