Lankford Raises Concerns about National Debt and President Biden’s $2.4 Trillion “Infrastructure” Grab Bag on Senate Floor
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on YouTube.
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today spoke on the Senate floor to raise his concerns about President Biden’s “infrastructure” proposal, which contains much more than infrastructure funding. After Congress has added more than $4 trillion to the national debt in the last 12 months, President Biden has now proposed a $2.4 trillion package that amounts to another grab-bag of political promises, including:
- $213 billion for housing
- $174 billion for electric vehicles
- $35 billion for climate technology
- Billions for child care
Lankford says that if we are going to debate and vote on something called an “infrastructure bill,” let’s actually focus on things like airports, waterways, interstates, bridges, and rural broadband, not an unrelated political wish list ,
Let me read to you a section of the proposal on infrastructure that’s been put out by the White House. Just one section of the many sections that are there. This particular section on national critical infrastructure reads this way, ‘Funds for schools to reduce or eliminate the use of paper plates and disposable materials.’ I don’t know what your definition of infrastructure is, but I don’t meet a lot of Oklahomans that when I say ‘infrastructure’, they think ‘school lunch trays.’
We need to work on infrastructure. And I would tell you, I don’t meet a Republican that’s not engaged in this issue of infrastructure. And it’s not the first time for any of us to work on infrastructure. We’ve had multiple bills. I remind people around my state that every time you’re driving around my state and you see an orange construction zone and a flashing sign, that’s a previous infrastructure bill that was done. Every direction that you go in my state, you’re going to see infrastructure that’s already happening and working. Because working on infrastructure is a common part of what we do. Republicans have stepped to the table and they’ve said, ‘Let’s work on infrastructure together.’ In fact, it was interesting, President Trump over and over again talked about working on infrastructure, and trying to be able to get a major infrastructure proposal. Our definition of infrastructure though doesn’t include school lunch trays. We’d like to work on highways. This particular package that the White House has sent us, we’ve just raised our hand and said ‘we have a few questions before you want to be able to move this forward.’
This particular proposal spends $174 billion for electric vehicles, but only $115 billion for the highways that they’ll drive on. We just believe we need to spend more on highways. We don’t mind incentivizing electric vehicles, but, quite frankly, there’s been a lot of incentives out there already. Every Tesla that you pull up next to, when you turn over and see them at a stoplight, you should ask for your turn to drive. Because every one of those beautiful Tesla vehicles, the federal taxpayers also kicked in $7,800 in federal tax subsidies for that beautiful $60,000 automobile that someone else is driving. There have been tax incentives that have been out there for electric vehicles, we just believe we need to spend more on actually dealing with our roads and bridges because they are in major problems.
So what can we do? For those of us in Oklahoma, we know full well. I-35, Interstate 44 and Interstate 40 all cross in my beautiful state. We’re the center of the country in trucking. We’re the center of the country in railways. We have the farthest, northernmost, inland port that’s actually in Oklahoma where a lot of wheat and fertilizer moves through our state coming from the north to get into the ports to be able to get out. We understand the significance of what it means to be able to work on our ports, our waterways, our highways, our bridges; to deal with clean water, to deal with sewage water, to be able deal with even broadband.
All of those things are essential for every farm to be able to operate and for every section of our economy to be able to function. Let’s work on this together. Let’s find a way that we can actually hit common ground and agree that working on airports, and working on highways, and working on bridges are vital to us; then let’s talk about the rest of the other things on this because we have a lot of debt as a country. And adding another $2.5 trillion and having to debate about a corporate tax change that, quite frankly, in 2017 when we made that corporate tax change, 70 percent of the difference in those companies went to employees’ wages. Now to go back and raise that corporate tax again, we know exactly what that’s going to mean for employees of those companies and future raises that they may or may not get. So let’s actually talk about this. And let’s work on infrastructure together, but let’s actually work on what is truly infrastructure.