Progress is coming, but not because of Oklahomans elected to Congress

In bipartisan votes in both the US Senate (69-30) and the US House (228-206), finally the USA truly had “Infrastructure Week” with pressure applied and leadership from President Biden.

But not a single Representative or Senator from Oklahoma voted for the historic $1.2 trillion infrastructure legislation. Not one.

The US House voted late Friday, November 5th and the Senate voted back in August. In the Senate, all 50 Democrats voted in favor of the bill as did 19 Republicans. In the House all but 6 Democrats voted Yes, while all but 13 Republicans voted No. President Biden will have a signing ceremony soon.

There is so much needed help in this legislation. Oklahoma cities, towns and counties have needed this type of help for decades. And that may be one reason that Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt was a leading spokesman in favor of passage of this bill. Mayor Holt is a Republican.

Late on Friday after the bill passed in the House, Mayor Holt tweeted (in a five part thread):

“For a decade, across three presidents of both parties, our nation’s mayors advocated for a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure. This year Republican & Democratic Senators came together, supported by the White House, and finally introduced a bipartisan plan. This plan brings historic funding to core infrastructure needs, including roads and bridges, public transit, passenger rail, water infrastructure and broadband. It passed the Senate with 69 votes, including the vote of Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Tonight it passed the House as well and now goes to the President’s desk. Over the next few years, this legislation will finally provide cities the major national infrastructure investment we have needed for so long. Also, the bipartisan nature of this legislations’ development and passage demonstrates that our nation can still work together to do important things. I was proud to co-chair our national @usmayors effort to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill with Mayor @nanwhaley. Congrats to all involved and thank you to all who made it possible! Onward!”

Not involved and not thanked are Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, and US Representatives Stephanie Bice, Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, Markwayne Mullin and Kevin Hern. They all voted against infrastructure for Oklahoma.

This is a breakdown of what is in the bill that every member of Congress from Oklahoma voted against:

$1.2 Trillion over 5 years ($550 billion is entirely new investment)

Transportation

• $110 billion – Roads & Bridges

• $66 billion – Railroads

• $39 billion – Public Transit

• $25 billion – Airports

• $17 billion – Ports

• $15 billion – Electric Vehicles ($7.5 billion for charge stations and $7.5 billion for zero-emission school buses)

• $11 billion – Safety (roads and pipelines)

• $1 billion – Reconnecting Communities

Utilities

• $65 billion – Power Infrastructure (The Grid)

• $65 billion – Broadband (expand in rural & low-income areas)

• $55 billion – Water Infrastructure

• $47 billion – Resilience (Cyber security and climate change mitigation, addressing droughts, flooding, wildfires, coastal erosion, etc)

• $21 billion – Pollution Remediation (Clean up abandoned mines, old oil wells, etc.)

• $8 billion – Western Water Infrastructure

That all is new spending which adds up to $545 Billion. There is some other small investments, but the majority of the $1.2 Trillion is money that is spent normally on infrastructure. Yet, every elected official Oklahoma sent to Washington, DC to represent our state voted against all of that, every penny.

They also voted against new jobs.

Moody’s Analytics estimates that the passage of Biden’s Infrastructure Deal will create 660,000 new jobs. The bill does include some provisions and funding for more job training.

On Saturday after the legislation was passed, President Biden tweeted, “The vast majority of the jobs created by my Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal don’t require a college degree. This is a blue-collar blueprint for our Country.”

But Senator Inhofe, Senator Lankford, Rep. Hern, Rep. Mullin, Rep. Lucas, Rep. Cole, and Rep. Bice all voted against those jobs.

On Saturday when President Biden spoke about the passage of this deal he said, “I know we’re divided, I know how mean it can get, and I know there are extremes on both ends that make it more difficult than it’s been in a long time. But I’m convinced if we let the American people know that we’re committed to enhancing their ability to make their way, we’ll all do better.”

We are deeply divided but we can become more United. But not with the current crop of elected officials we’ve sent to DC. Oklahoma needs to elect Republicans like David Holt and Democrats like Joe Biden.

Unless or until we in Oklahoma have a massive awakening of the 50% of Oklahomans who are eligible to vote but don’t vote, nothing will change. All seven of the elected officials we sent to DC voted against the interests of our state, our counties, our cities and our towns because they thought it was more important to deny a “win” for President Biden. They have proven over and over they are more partisan hacks than they are representatives of our state and our people. Just be sure to remember this over the next few years as they show up for celebrations and ribbon-cuttings as infrastructure deals begin and are completed. The coming progress will happen in spite of their votes.

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