Washington – U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) this morning spoke on the House Floor in support of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and called on Speaker Pelosi to hold a vote on this measure today. As Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus Infrastructure Working Group, Rep. Katko authored framework that became the basis for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which makes historic investments to modernize America’s physical infrastructure systems. The measure passed in the Senate last month with bipartisan support.
Rep. Katko’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be found below and viewed here.
Madam Speaker, I rise today because it is time to cut through the noise and recognize the opportunity at hand.
Last month, the Senate passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with the support of 19 Republican Senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Since then, I’ve heard the loudest voices in the room say a lot about this bill, except for calling it what it is: a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s physical infrastructure.
For myself and so many others, a bill like this is the reason we came to Congress. We’ve heard from the mom or dad that hit a pothole and had to pay out-of-pocket to fix the family car. We’ve seen our children struggle and fall behind in school without reliable internet access. Our communities are the ones where basic access to clean drinking water has been jeopardized by aging pipes. Our workers and businesses are the ones calling for investments that will help them compete on the world’s stage.
So, the question is: what will we, as Members of Congress, do about it? Will we allow blatant partisanship on both sides of the aisle to stand in the way of legislation that is objectively good for the American people? Will we ignore the very real crisis that is facing infrastructure systems in communities like the one I represent in Central New York? Will we simply disregard the pleas from the most significant labor and business advocates in the country?
I, for one, will not. I strongly support the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and urge the Speaker to bring the bill to the floor as a stand-alone vote today.
This long overdue legislation delivers comprehensive investment in our roads and bridges, ports and waterways, clean water systems, broadband networks, electrical grid, and airports. The bill takes essential steps to streamline federal permitting processes and undertakes the crucial work of improving the resiliency of our hard infrastructure. Critically, this legislation includes responsible pay-fors in addition to its $550 billion in new spending for physical infrastructure. The CBO estimates that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will have a 33% return on investment because of the economic benefits of long-term infrastructure projects. And experts from the American Enterprise Institute have argued that spending under this legislation would not contribute to inflation because the spending would be spread out over a decade and focus on improving long-term productivity.
No legislation is perfect, but this measure is the product of an honest, good faith, and bipartisan effort to reach consensus and deliver for our constituents. I know that, because I have spent years working with my colleagues in the Problem Solvers Caucus to reach this moment. Since 2017, our group has worked on a framework that would move the ball forward on infrastructure and present real policy solutions for the challenges we face. In presenting our work to a bipartisan group of Governors, Senators, and Members of the House in Annapolis, Maryland earlier this year, we helped lay the framework for the bipartisan infrastructure bill the House is now considering.
I’m grateful to all of my colleagues who worked on this, and I sincerely hope that this work will not have been in vain. I hope that we can see through the cloud of misinformation and partisan efforts to hold this bill hostage. I hope my colleagues will look at this bill, objectively, on its own merits, and consider the benefits that it holds for the communities they represent.
I would also remind my colleagues who are unsure of where they will fall: the world is watching. Our nation’s adversaries like the Chinese Communist Party would like nothing more than to see this body yield to partisan interests and refuse to invest in its own people. These adversaries would cheer our decision to ignore the crises of the past year and decide not to invest in cybersecurity for our infrastructure assets. And they would be relieved if we continue a status quo that erases our economy’s competitive edge and allows malign actors to gain the upper hand.
Simply put, with this bill, Congress is taking a critical step in deciding who will build the future. I will back a future built by American workers, ensuring opportunities for American families and American businesses. I sincerely hope my colleagues will put down their swords and join me.
Thank you, and I yield back.