With One Exception, Bennet's GOP Challengers say They Oppose Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

By Ernest Luning, November 07, 2021,

All but one of the Republicans running for the Colorado U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Michael Bennet say they would have voted against the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate this summer and got an OK late Friday from the House of Representatives.

Plugged by supporters as the most comprehensive infrastructure measure since the New Deal, the $1.2 trillion package of transportation and utility improvements is on its way to President Joe Biden's desk after House Democrats reached a deal to hold a vote later this month on a budget reconciliation bill estimated at $1.85 trillion spending over 10 years on elements of Biden's health care, climate and social agenda.

Bennet joined every Senate Democrat and 19 of the chamber's 50 Republicans voting for the infrastructure bill, which includes $550 billion in new spending and was negotiated by a bipartisan group of moderate lawmakers including Democrat John Hickenlooper, Colorado's other Senator.

After the House passed the bill 228-206, Bennet applauded what he called the legislation's "historic, bipartisan investment" in the nation's infrastructure early Saturday in a statement. He also called on Congress to pass the companion reconciliation package, which has been slimmed down from the original $3.5 trillion proposal across months of negotiations driven by Democratic U.S. Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

"But our work isn't finished," said Bennet, who is seeking a third term in next year's election. "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."

In addition to the Republican Senators who supported the infrastructure bill this summer, 13 GOP House members voted for it Friday, while six of the most progressive House Democrats voted against it, arguing that an agreement among Democrats to take up the reconciliation p[ackage in coming weeks was insufficient.

The other Republican primary candidates, most of whom hadn't previously stated their position on the infrastructure package, said they would have opposed the bill, with several pointing to the measure's price tag amid rising inflation and some condemning its links to the budget reconciliation package, which has been dubbed the Biden administration's "human infrastructure" bill.

Many of the other Republicans told Colorado Politics they would support a bill limited to "common sense" or "real" infrastructure spending.

Former conservative talk radio host Deborah Flora told Colorado Politics she's opposed to the infrastructure bill because of its connection to the budget reconciliation measure.

Said Flora: "This bill morphed into a bloated spending package and is now explicitly linked to an extreme social agenda, including hiring 87,000 more IRS agents to further invade the lives of citizens. The combined billions of dollars that Biden and Bennet want to spend will bankrupt future generations. I definitely support real infrastructure spending but not this irresponsible government overreach."

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