A Central Illinois Republican Congressman is on board with the idea that the Senate’s infrastructure bill needs to come to the state soon.
18th District Congressman Darin LaHood says that the currently $1 Trillion bill is inching forward in the senior chamber: “We need infrastructure. If you look at the vote – they’ve got a series of votes in the Senate – they’ve gotten upwards of 18-20 Republicans to support it. Listen, I think it’s on a good gliding path to passage in the Senate. Of course, it will come over to the House then. I look forward to seeing the bill as it comes over. We need infrastructure. Central Illinois is predicated on good infrastructure for our farmers, for our businesses, for our citizens, and this is something that’s long overdue. I don’t think anyone can drive around the state and not run into a pothole and not have anxiety about popping a tire or tearing up their car.”
The Senate voted 69-28 Sunday to support the provisions of a compromise that was the result of painstaking negotiations by a group of Republicans and Democrats over the last week. The Senate also voted 68-29 to limit debate on the overall bill, which could put it on track for a vote on passage sometime early this week, and, in turn, send it to the House.
LaHood says the main problems had with the bill in the beginning was an increase to the federal gas tax, which has been pulled. LaHood says that leftover COVID-19 response money is another way to help pay for the massive bill: “Roughly about $550 billion will come from leftover COVID funds that weren’t spent. That’s a good thing. The other half will come from some user fees – user fees from using our rail system and our airports and there will be some deficit spending, which is causing myself and others some concern on 10 years, roughly $250 billion that will be spread out. The bottom line is our country needs infrastructure.”
The Congressional Budget Office, which is nonpartisan, announced last week that the bill is expected to increase deficits by $256 billion over the next decade but the analysis did not include $57 billion in revenue that Washington could collect over the long term from the economic growth benefits of infrastructure projects or the possible $53 billion expected to be returned to the federal government by the states for unused COVID relief.