Infrastructure spending needs to have bipartisan support

Infrastructure spending needs to have bipartisan support: Rep. Ashley Hinson

Turn to a lawmaker from one of the 18 states moving to end enhanced unemployment benefits. Iowa Republican Congresswoman Hinson, she’s also a member of the House Budget and Appropriations Committees. Congresswoman, welcome.

Good to be with you, Mike. Happy Sunday.

Thank you. You heard your colleague, David Cicilline on the spending packages. How do you respond?

Well, I think the key here is we are ready to come to the table. We’re ready to work on solutions Iowans need and support infrastructure investment. But if there’s one thing that I’ve heard from my constituents, it’s that they support targeted infrastructure investment. When we’re talking about that package specifically, only six percent goes to roads and bridges, only about five percent to broadband infrastructure and even less to lochs and dams and ports. So when you’re talking about spending more on electric vehicle subsidies than actual infrastructure, I think that’s where we need to come to the drawing board.

I think there is a room where we can actually find a solution that everybody agrees on, but I hope we can all come to the table and get something done.

We’ve heard that taxes are a red line for Republican leaders. I assume they may be for you as well, if not taxes. Do we go with user fees for, say, a toll on a bridge?

Well, in Iowa, it doesn’t have tolls. And I’d like to see it stay that way. But we do have a dedicated funding stream already. When you go fill up at the pump, you pay a gas tax to to pay for using that infrastructure. I think we need to be making sure that we have equity in that. So if you’re driving an electric vehicle, that you’re actually paying those user fees as well. We’ve already taken action on that.

I led that as a state legislator several years ago. So we actually laid out that plan already here in Iowa. And I’m happy to come to the table and be a voice on how you can do that effectively and get it done at the federal level.

So far in this Congress, we’ve seen Democrats go it alone on a number of issues. Do you think they’re serious about bipartisanship on these spending matters or are you afraid they’re going to go it alone?

Well, it is a fear of mine, because when I look at what I’m hearing from taxpayers, it’s that they want someone to stand up for them. Yes, we all agree we need investments in infrastructure, but we can’t just keep disrespecting taxpayers who are working so hard and sending those dollars to the federal government. And the spending spigots clearly been turned on, Mike, with over six trillion dollars in proposed spending just in this first few months of President Biden’s administration.

That’s definitely concerning to me. So I’m hopeful, again, that they’ll see the reason here and continue to respect the hardworking taxpayers of this country in this process. OK, to a big story there in Iowa, a case that’s got national attention. A 20 year old college student, Molly Tibbits, went out for a job for a jog excuse me, and was murdered allegedly by an illegal immigrant about three years ago. Jury selection is set to start tomorrow.

Congresswoman, your thoughts on this case?

Well, my my heart goes out to the family of Molly Tibbits as a working mom in Congress. It’s my goal to make sure that this never happens to another family here in Iowa or across the country at the absolutely tragic end. And I’m hopeful that her family get some closure. But in my mind, this is absolutely why we have to secure the border. I went down to the border a few weeks ago, saw what was happening there firsthand. Just last week, I had the opportunity to question the acting director of ICE.

It was I was incredulous to learn that ICE could not actually track illegal immigrants once they’re actually released into this country. So, again, it’s a priority for me to actually work on securing our border, stopping that crisis. It’s a safety and security issue. And you see it in states like Iowa. You see it in states all across the country. Every state is a border state right now and we have to make sure we have safety.

CAVAFY We’re showing our audience right now live pictures of immigrants crossing the border right now. Considering this murder trial happening in Iowa. I mean, does that make folks there even more concerned about what we’re seeing at the border? Not saying these folks are murderers by any stretch of the imagination, but obviously it puts the spotlight on our illegal immigration and our crisis at the border, right?

Absolutely. I mean, you you listen to the stories coming from the sheriffs at those border counties. I sat down with Republican sheriffs and Democrat sheriffs and they were pleading for help because they do have dangerous criminals coming across the border. Many people are coming here to seek better lives. And I understand that. And we have a legal immigration process for them to come into this country and and offer that freedom and opportunity to them. But what you’re seeing is the cartels are winning right now.

They’re smuggling people. They’re smuggling drugs. And we do have increased gang activity. It’s dangerous. And we need to stop, catch and release. We need to make sure that we are returning people to Mexico and we need to make sure title forty two stays in place and then starting construction of that wall again. That stopped right after President Biden took office. And in my mind, those are the things that we can do right now to make sure that we’re securing our border, which is imperative to keeping our country safe.

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