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Everybody Likes A Nice Earmark For Their District, Right?



When the House passed (221-201) the INVEST Act today-- a $715 billion hard infrastructure bill dealing with transportation and water-- they were also passing the first big piece of legislation with earmarks since the practice was reinstated this year. 105 Republican members inserted earmarks-- about $1.5 billion worth-- for 403 projects in their districts and most of them then voted against the package anyway. Every Democrat voted for it but the only Republicans who joined them were Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) and Chris Smith (NJ).


Remember the old days when if a member got an earmark and then voted against the bill, the earmark would be stripped from the bill? I don't think they're doing that anymore and instead, these House hypocrites are counting on the Senate to pass it's own infrastructure plan which would then go to a conference where the Republicans' earmarks would be re-added to the final version they could then vote in favor of.


The Republicans don't like the House bill-- put together by Pete DeFazio, Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Frank Pallone, chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee-- because it includes provisions dealing with Climate Change and because the spending isn't offset by spending cuts elsewhere. The NRCC messaging on the bill is to call it the "The Green New Deal Revisited" and sneer (while many of their own constituents, like Kevin McCarthy's and David Valadao's broil).


Associated Press reporter Kevin Freking, pointed out that "Biden has suggested raising the corporate tax rate to fund infrastructure investments, but Republicans oppose that and would vote against it. The bipartisan group of 10 senators negotiating a nearly $1 trillion plan narrowed on a variety of potential funding sources that don’t involve tax increases. House Republicans took issue with the transportation bill being considered Thursday because it doesn’t include a funding mechanism. Republicans argued the new spending on infrastructure would increase the deficit and ramp up inflation, hurting families when they buy gas and groceries. They also protested the exclusion of their proposals to further streamline the permitting process so that large infrastructure projects could be completed more quickly and at less cost to taxpayers."


GOP Whip Steve Scalise was whining that the bill "is very partisan" and "has little to do with infrastructure. It’s more about the Green New Deal." I wish it really was a Green New Deal revisited!


This morning, Politico pointed out some of the most electorally vulnerable Republicans who requested big money and then voted against their own requests: David Valadao ($20 million), Don Bacon ($20 million), John Katko ($19.4 million), Mariannette Miller-Meeks ($15 million) and Carlos Gimenez ($4 million).


The progressive Democrat running for the Central Valley district represented by Valadao, Delano Mayor Bryan Osorio seemed aghast when I spoke with him after the vote today. He told me that "Valadao once again voted against the interests of his community residents by voting 'no' for the INVEST in America Act, a bill that included $20 million for his district to fix and improve roads, bridges, and highways. If he were the bi-partisan congress member he repeatedly claims to be, he would have been one of the two Republicans to vote for the INVEST Act. However, he continues to follow the lead of Rep. Devin Nunes (CA-22) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), and chooses the Republican Party over his constituents’ needs."

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