GOP candidates for Senate in Pennsylvania oppose jobs act that would help constituents

448

The bipartisan infrastructure package will provide the state billions for transportation, broadband, and electrical infrastructure in Pennsylvania.

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that passed the Senate on Tuesday would mean billions in infrastructure funds for Pennsylvania. But every major Republican candidate for the state's open Senate seat is campaigning against the $550 billion plan.

According to the Cook Political Report and the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, the 2022 race to succeed retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) will likely be one of the most competitive in the country.

According to a Philadelphia Inquirer roundup on Thursday, all of the major Republican contenders for the seat oppose the bipartisan package — which invests in transportation, water systems, electrical, and broadband infrastructure across the country.

Jeff Bartos, a wealthy real estate developer and the unsuccessful 2018 GOP nominee for lieutenant gubernatorial, decried the package.

"The infrastructure bill is just the latest iteration of a Washington hellbent on spending not only our money, but the money our children and grandchildren haven't even earned yet," he told PoliticsPA, falsely claiming that 90% of the bill is "wasteful, political pork."

Defeated 2020 GOP House candidate Kathy Barnette called it a "collection of special interest favors cloaked in bipartisanship," and incorrectly claimed the provisions it contains to make broadband accessible to everyone were somehow a Democratic scheme to promote critical race theory.

Another failed 2020 House hopeful, Sean Parnell, claimed it is "a trillion dollar corporate welfare scheme for leftwing special interests, masquerading as 'infrastructure.'"

The campaign manager for Carla Sands, a chiropractor and formerly President Donald Trump's ambassador to Denmark, told City & State Pennsylvania that she objects to a "progressive wishlist spending bill masquerading as infrastructure."

But the bill would help the people they are running to represent in significant ways.

According to a White House fact sheet, Pennsylvania stands to receive at least $11.3 billion for federal highways, $1.6 billion for bridges, $2.8 billion for public transportation, $171 million for electric vehicle chargers, and $100 million for expanded broadband coverage if the infrastructure bill becomes law.

Pennsylvania's other senator, Democrat Bob Casey, tweeted Tuesday that the bill provides "critical funding to make Pennsylvania roads & bridges safer, expand broadband access & improve public transit while tackling the climate crisis by prioritizing EVs & clean energy."

Last month, Evan Endres, climate and energy policy manager for the Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania, told the American Independent Foundation that the package would be a huge step toward protecting the environment and climate in the state — and also would help its economy.

"That's something that should excite Pennsylvanians, particularly communities close to those formerly mined lands," he said of provisions in the bill to generate renewable energy on grounds once used for coal mining. "You're bringing a new economic stimulation, development to those same lands through renewable energy, solar energy. That's a great intersection for those areas."

Each of the Democratic candidates running for Toomey's open seat has indicated support for the bipartisan bill.

A May poll found 74% of Pennsylvania's backed Biden's American Jobs Plan, an even larger $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan, versus just 22% opposition.

National polls have shown the final package is supported by large majorities of voters.

But most Republicans senators voted against the package on Tuesday, including Toomey.

The North Carolina Democratic Party noted last Thursday that all of the top Republican candidates for an open Senate seat in that state have also attacked the bipartisan infrastructure legislation.

In a virtual appearance on Tuesday, first flagged by the progressive research group American Bridge 21st Century, one candidate — former Rep. Mark Walker — scolded the 19 Republican Senate incumbents for "giving Joe Biden a win on what is basically a Green New Deal-light," saying "not one" is a conservative. Both North Carolina Republican incumbents voted for the bill.

The White House has estimated North Carolina stands to receive at least $8.7 billion if it becomes law.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.