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Weekly Column: Investing In Idaho And Opposing Reckless Spending

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch

The media and others have incorrectly conflated the Senate-passed hard Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) we voted for with “President Biden’s social infrastructure bill.”  They are incorrectly being lumped together, and the IIJA is being criticized for provisions not in it.  Were it not for the passage of the IIJA, the Democrats would most certainly have passed a much larger reconciliation package in the $6 trillion range.  Voting “no” on the Senate-passed hard infrastructure bill would have been the safe, expedient, politically motivated and far less controversial vote.  Voting “yes” on the IIJA was the genuine conservative and better vote for Idaho and the country. 

On August 10, 2021, we voted for the hard infrastructure bill, the IIJA.  On August 11, 2021, we voted against the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reckless tax-and-spending spree.  We will continue to fight and vote against this Biden legislation.  We voted in favor of the IIJA because its passage stopped Democrats from using their majority power to spend even more, and it helps us keep pace with Idaho’s rapid growth.

Had the IIJA not passed, Senate Democrats were committed to expand physical infrastructure spending to $2.5 trillion and add it to their $3.5 trillion “social infrastructure” spending plan.  Democrats would have passed this $6 trillion total package through budget reconciliation on a party line vote.  By supporting the much smaller hard infrastructure bill representing existing Republican priorities, we prevented Democrats from executing this disastrous alternative by forcing them to separate real infrastructure from their partisan wish-list spending spree.  

About the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:

  •  All New Funding Offset--The Congressional Budget Office’s budget scoring does not credit our redirection of over $200 billion worth of unspent COVID-19 funds to fully offset the new spending on hard infrastructure projects needed for Idaho’s growth.  Our approach correctly accounts for the redirected $200 billion, fully offsetting new funding. 


  • No Biden Taxes--In the IIJA we supported, we agreed to none of President Biden’s disastrous taxes. 


  • $1.5 Trillion Removed--Republicans removed $1.5 trillion of President Biden’s planned infrastructure spending.  This is separate from the President’s reckless $3.5 trillion spending bill, which we will continue to fight against.


  • Hard Infrastructure—The IIJA does not include a single dollar for Biden’s expensive social programs.  They are in his $3.5 trillion spending bill, which we will continue to fight and vote against.    


  • Investments in traditional, hard infrastructure projects--Providing resources for Idaho:
    • Roads and highways;
    • Drinking water and wastewater infrastructure;
    • Bridge construction and maintenance;
    • Wildland firefighting;
    • Natural resources infrastructure, including fire management and reduction;
    • Airports;
    • Broadband extension; and
    • Extension of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program through Fiscal Year 2023. 


  • The IIJA does not include changes to states’ right-to-work status


  • The IIJA does not remove Hyde Amendment or Weldon Amendment prohibitions on taxpayer-funded abortions. 


  • No Big Brother Data Collection--The IIJA does not include additional funding for the IRS.  The Democrats have instead included it in their $3.5 trillion reckless tax-and-spending spree, which we voted to remove and will continue to fight against.


  • Mileage Tax Study--The IIJA does not contain new authorizations or mandates to place location-tracking devices on Americans’ vehicles. 


  • Counter-Inflationary--Counter-inflationary, supply-side investments in hard infrastructure will generate significant growth in jobs, wages and capital formation.   


  • Preserved the Filibuster--Republicans prevented the Democrats from circumventing longstanding Senate procedure intended to give minority opinions a voice in the Senate.


We will continue to fight and vote against the President’s separate $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure bill,” job-killing tax proposals and government-controlled social programs that undercut fundamental American values.

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