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Neguse, Bennet laud passage of bipartisan infrastructure bill as Boebert slams 13 ‘RINOs’ who OK’d it

November 7, 2021, 7:29 am
Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Joe Neguse on Vail Pass in 2020.

A transformative $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed in the U.S. House on Friday by a bipartisan vote of 228 to 206, delivering money to fix and improve crumbling roads, water systems, bridges, airports, mass transit and broadband.

The infrastructure bill is a major victory for the administration of President Joe Biden, a Democrat who at long last delivered a policy victory on something his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, promised but failed to get done for years.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed with yes votes from 13 Republicans, while six progressive Democrats voted against it as they held out for a companion Build Back Better bill expected to fund many transformative social programs and climate change measures.

The infrastructure bill had already passed the U.S. Senate on a bipartisan vote that included 19 Republicans led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Biden is expected to sign the bill into law as he continues to push for the nearly $2 trillion Build Back Better bill.

In Colorado, all four Democratic House members voted in favor of the infrastructure bill, while the three Republicans opposed it.

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, whose district includes Vail and the eastern third of Eagle County, praised the bill’s passage for the many climate provisions he helped get into the legislation.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, whose district includes the western two thirds of Eagle County, blasted the bill and the Republicans who helped pass it in a bitter partisan tweet on Saturday:

“Democrats did not pass the “infrastructure” bill. RINOs did. The final votes should have been 215-219, but 13 Rs helped Pelosi get this passed ushering in the $4.3 trillion BBB.”

RINOs are “Republicans in Name Only”.

Neguse issued this press release on Saturday:

Yesterday, Congressman Joe Neguse secured passage of several key-climate resiliency priorities as the House passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The plan includes investments in wildfire management and climate resiliency, including his Joint-Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership Proposal, upgrades to America’s power grid to help communities prepare for climate related natural disasters and an extension of the Secure Rural Schools Program, a proposal Rep. Neguse has been pushing since he started in Congress. 

“As communities across Colorado face more frequent and more severe climate-related weather events— such as the record-setting wildfires and terrible flash flooding we’ve witnessed this past year— it’s more clear than ever that we need to make major investments in our lands, our forests and our communities,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “For the last year we’ve been calling on Congress to robustly address the threat of catastrophic wildfire and fund climate resilient infrastructure. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which passed the House last night, we are delivering on several of these key priorities for Colorado. Included in the bill are our proposals to make major investments in wildfire prevention and collaborative forest programs, upgrade our power grid and reauthorize the secure rural schools program, providing essential funds to Colorado schools. These investments will have a tangible impact on our Colorado communities and it was critical to get them into the hands of our families and communities.”

“Let me be clear also that this is a first step of many. Passing the Build Back Better Act and fully delivering on the Biden Agenda is absolutely critical as we support our communities recovering from record-setting wildfires, invest in American families and finally take meaningful action to tackle the climate crisis. I look forward to delivering on the full Build Back Better Agenda in the coming weeks.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes the following Neguse-led proposals: 

  • $5.75 billion for wildfire management to reduce the threat of wildfire, rehabilitate burn areas and support forest restoration;
  • $5 billion to prevent power outages and enhance the resilience of the electric grid, Congressman Neguse’s Disaster Safe Power Grid Act similarly aims to address power grid issues;  
  • Rep. Neguse’s proposal to formally authorize the Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership program; 
  • Rep. Neguse’s proposal to extend the secure rural schools program, to bring needed funding to Colorado’s mountain communities; 
  • $1 billion for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program;  
  • $300 million for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program;
  • $300 million for Forest Service Legacy Roads and Trail Meditation, as outlined in Neguse’s CCC proposal; and
  • $492 million for NOAA’s National Coastal Resiliency Fund.

Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet issued this statement on Saturday:

Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and a rule to allow for a later vote on the Build Back Better Act:

“Today’s House vote moves us one step closer to a transformational investment in our infrastructure. For years, Washington has talked about coming together to rebuild America. This bill finally achieves it with a historic, bipartisan investment in the roads, bridges, airports, water systems, and high-speed broadband America needs to compete in the 21st century.

“But our work isn’t finished. We must also pass new investments to support kids and families, fight climate change, restore our Western forests and watersheds, and expand access to health care. At a time when many people have lost faith in Washington, we can remind Americans that our government can respond meaningfully to their urgent challenges.”

The IIJA passed with key Bennet-led initiatives, including:

  • The largest ever single federal broadband investment, consistent with Bennet’s bipartisan BRIDGE Act that he introduced with U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) this year. 
  • $300 million over five years for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) to address an estimated backlog of $200 million. Bennet has continued to pushfor increased EWP funding to help Colorado communities recover from wildfires, and earlier this year, Bennet and U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) introduced the MATCH Act to remove hurdles to securing funding through the EWP and help communities act quickly to mitigate damage while protecting their watersheds and infrastructure.
  • The Carbon Capture Improvement Act, legislation Bennet and Portman introduced earlier this year, which will make it easier for power plants and industrial facilities to finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture, utilization, and storage equipment, as well as direct air capture projects through the use of tax-exempt private activity bonds.
  • The Bennet-Hoeven amendmentto formally authorize the United States Department of Agriculture’s Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership Initiative. 
  • Robust funding for water infrastructure for Tribal communities, consistent with Bennet’s Tribal Access to Clean Water Act with U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). 
  • Robustfunding for western water infrastructure. In June, Bennet joined his colleagues in callingon Senate leadership to prioritize funding for natural infrastructure restoration, resilience, and reclamation, including major investments in water infrastructure. Bennet and his colleagues also urgedthe Biden Administration to include western water priorities in their infrastructure proposal. 
  • Bennet and Portman’s Automatic Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Major Disasters and Critical Events Act to permit the Secretary of the Treasury to extend the tax filing deadline for all taxpayers affected by federally declared disasters, national emergencies, and terrorist or military action.
  • $4.7 billion for programs to plug, remediate, and reclaim orphaned wells on Federal, State, and Tribal lands, consistent with provisions in Bennet’sOil and Gas Bonding Reform and Orphaned Well Remediation Act introduced earlier this year. This will reduce methane emissions which will protect our climate, restore wildlife habitat, and create good-paying jobs.
  • Bennet’s Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act and the Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnerships Act, legislation Bennet introducedto protect the energy grid from cyber-attacks. 
  • An extension of the Secure Rural Schools program through 2023. Bennet has continued to support SRS and introducedlegislation in February to reauthorize the program.
  • Authorization for the Department of Transportation to return $28.9 million, plus interest, for a deposit that the Regional Transportation District made to secure a federal loan to redevelop Denver’s Union Station, which Bennet has supported.

Delivering for Colorado:

  • $3.7 billion for highway projects. 
  • $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs.
  • $917 million toimprove public transportation. 
  • $57 million to support the expansion of an electric vehicle charging network throughout the state. 
  • A minimum of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state.

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