For decades, Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District has been represented by a member of Congress serving on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. When I was named to this committee upon my arrival to Congress two years ago, I was thrilled for the chance to follow in the footsteps of transportation giants like Reps. John Blatnik and Jim Oberstar and work in the same collegial manner to get things done for Northeastern Minnesota.
From the get-go, I have fought to ensure our roads and bridges are safe, our airports are up to date, and our waterways and ports are in good condition to facilitate commerce and trade. And, because Northeastern Minnesota is largely rural, I have strongly advocated for increased investment in broadband, which is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity for success in the 21st century.
These are all true infrastructure needs, and ones I know can earn strong bipartisan support in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
Unfortunately, rather than bring forward a sensible package focused on true and traditional infrastructure investment, President Joe Biden recently proposed a package that has almost nothing to do with infrastructure. As it stands, less than 6% of Biden’s $2.3 trillion plan would go toward roads and bridges, according to a White House fact sheet. The House Budget Republicans broke it down further, finding that less than 2% would go to upgrading and repairing America’s waterways, lakes, dams, ports, and airports. And less than 5% would go to broadband.
The American people are suffering the consequences of these unnecessary and harmful hyper-partisan times. While Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hold only razor-thin majorities in the House and Senate, they continue to push a misguided agenda forward with no input from the minority party. This time they’re advancing Green-New-Deal mandates and job-killing regulations that would leave rural America and middle class-families behind — all in the name of “infrastructure.”
It is also important to highlight that the president plans to pay for this extraordinarily costly package by implementing a tax increase that the National Association of Manufacturers estimated would kill 1 million jobs in two years. In a separate survey of 178 business leaders, 98% found that this tax hike would have a significant impact on competitiveness.
The reality is that higher taxes on American businesses mean fewer jobs and lower wages for our workers. Make no mistake, the middle class always pays when taxes are raised. This is the last thing businesses and families need at a time when our economy needs to recover from a year of mandatory lockdowns.
President Biden also recently indicated he was open to imposing a gas tax increase to pay for his spendy plan. With gas prices already spiking, this would only further pinch middle-class families’ pocketbooks.
The American people are tired of the partisan gridlock plaguing Washington. We have a great opportunity ahead of us not only to restore our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and put thousands of union employees back to work but also to bring bipartisanship and regular order back to our nation’s Capital.
Therefore, I strongly believe we must hit the brakes on President Biden’s partisan “infrastructure” plan and bring both sides of the aisle back to the drawing board.
The Republican and Democratic priorities don’t always perfectly align, but we must return to the decades-held tradition of bipartisanship on this topic and put together a greatly needed infrastructure package. This is what the American people expect from their leaders, so I am ready to work with my colleagues on a targeted infrastructure plan — one that invests in traditional projects that put our union members to work and spends taxpayer dollars wisely.
Pete Stauber, a Republican from Hermantown, is the elected representative in the U.S. House of Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. He wrote this exclusively for the News Tribune.