MORGANTOWN – Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., offered members of the West Virginia press a Thursday update on the ongoing infrastructure package negotiations.
She said once again, “I’m very committed to a good physical infrastructure package that can pass bipartisan.”
An effort by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to force through a shell bill that would later house the bipartisan infrastructure package – still being shaped by the 22 senators from both parties – flopped Wednesday when Republicans blocked moving the bill forward for debate.
“I think he set it up to try to pressure the group to have the text ready,” Capito said. “It just didn’t come about because it’s very complicated. I’m not going to vote for something that I don’t know what it is, I don’t see the details.”
Those details include what it costs, the “ ‘payfors’ and what it encompasses,” she said. So she’ll be circling back to her friends from both parties on the negotiating team next week to see how it’s progressing.
“We’ll see what in there and how it affects West Virginia.
She remains concerned about the $3.5 trillion social infrastructure bill that President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi want to run in tandem with the bipartisan bill, she said. “I’m very troubled about what’s coming with the reckless spending and the spending spree and the taxes that will follow.”
She noted we’re already seeing inflation in the costs of milk, cars, gasoline. That hits people on the middle to low end of the income spectrum the most.
Biden still maintains it’s a temporary post-pandemic rebound, she said. “I hope he’s right.” But some economists say it may last longer.
Circling back to the bipartisan package, Capito described what it needs to contain for her to vote for it. “What does this do for West Virginians?”
She’s ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee that’s already passed bipartisan surface transportation and water infrastructure bills, she said, and they should make up about 60% of the larger bill. She wants to see that the core of the bill is in there, including funding for West Virginia roads and bridges. And she wants to see the payfors.
Sen Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined with 21 other senators from both parties to release a statement on package progress.
“We have made significant progress and are close to a final agreement,” they said. “We will continue working hard to ensure we get this critical legislation right—and are optimistic that we will finalize, and be prepared to advance, this historic bipartisan proposal to strengthen America’s infrastructure and create good-paying jobs in the coming days. We appreciate our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and the administration, working with us to get this done for the American people.”
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