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tv   U.S. Senate Sens. Brown and Moran on Infrastructure  CSPAN  August 15, 2021 1:32am-2:01am EDT

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pent up anxiety about what was transpiring in front of our eyes. >> this week, we will also hear from jamie raskin of maryland and brian fitzpatrick of pennsylvania. january 6: views from the house sunday on c-span, c-span.org or listen on the c-span radio app. >> by a vote of 69-30, the senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill this week to fund roads, bridges, public transit, broadband internet and water projects over the next five years. 19 republicans voted in favor of the legislation, sending it to the house. next -- the house next, where it will be considered at a time to be determined. we will show you some of the senate floor debate from earlier this week.
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mr. brown: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i first thank senator sanders for his passionate support for housing. he understands, having traveled the country and connected with so many people, that there is almost nothing more important -- maybe nothing more important to people's lives, to the material lives than having a safe, accessible, affordable house, place to live. and senator sanders mentioned that 25% of renters in this country pay half their income in rent -- in -- for housing costs and one thing goes bad in their lives, their car breaks down, their child gets sick, they miss a few days of work because of a minor injury, and their whole lives can turn upside down. senator sanders recognizes that and the legislation we beginning -- we begin later in the week is such an important step. we're going take that position
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on housing. i ask that my staff be granted floor frivolous for the remainder of the session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you. i rise today for a longer speech than i norm ailly give but in support of legislation that will make generational -- the infrastructure investment we should have been making for years. we remember four years ago -- all of us on this floor, all three members on this floor -- with were all ready to go with president trump to move forward on infrastructure and the president and the majority changed its mind. instead of investing in jobs, investing in infrastructure, investing in people, they gave -- they used that trillion-dollar-plus in a huge tax cut, 70% of which went to
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the wealthiest one percent. so this time we didn't let that that happen. i thank the members that held together and negotiated this very complicated bill. this investment is about jobs, creating good-paying union jobs, rebuilding bridges, replacing lead pipes, manufacturing next-generation energy-efficient buses. it is about better connecting people with jobs through transit and bridges and highways. it's about getting people in rural kansas or western massachusetts or southeast ohio or inner city cleveland, the broadband they need to go to school and prepare for otojobs of the future. supporting manufacturing jobs throughout my state, which this bill does, including at cleveland cliffs, in cleveland, and a.k. steel in southwest ohio, and newcorps through the strongest ever -- the strongest ever buy-america standards, negotiated working with senator
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portman, legislation that we worked on with senator baldwin, making steel and iron and other components in ohio for these projects. taken together, these are a recipe for job creation in communities large and small, rural and urban, ohio, from appalachia to the shores of lake erie. for too long, washington has ignored these places while wall street has preyed upon them. that ends now. we invest in people and places that make this country work. i hear from mayors of both parties and towns all over ohio about their vision for their community and the projects they want to undertake a they know the opportunities we can unleash. they need the investment. it's time for all of our communities to share in this country's prosperity. that's what this legislation does. i want to focus on a few key provisions that will be central and critical to ohio. right now, there are more than 3,200 bridges across ohio that need repairs to make them safer
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and reduce congestion so people can get to work, kids can get to school, farmers and businesses can move their products and support ohio jobs. i remember as a kid, i worked on a family farm just outside lexington, ohio, north central ohio. i used to drive grain to the market. we'd take hay wagons to the barn. we would cross some of these small, little bridges that cross creeks -- or some of us called them cricks -- and i know how some of those bridges even then looked to be in disrepair. many know the brent spence bridge talked about in all kinds of national infrastructure stories between ohio and kentucky. it carries unbelievably or not 3% of the country's g.d.p., either north to ohio for south to kentucky, across the river% of the country's g.d.p. every
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day. but it's dangerously outdated. it was completed, i believe, in 1960. many of us fought for years for federal investment, one of the first news events, community events i did when i became -- came to the senate in 2007 is go to the brent spence bridge and express my commitment that we needed to do something. it was not quite -- it wasn't as -- it wasn't in the shape then that it is now, but it clearly needed support and needed help. three and a half years ago i introduced the bridge investment act to put ohioans to work, repairing and upgrading bridges with american iron and steel. this week we're on the verge of getting it done. it will provide a grant to pay for half the cost of replacing brent spence and the additional funding in the package will support the remainder of the project. we expect ohio to get at least $9.8 billion for federal aid highway assistance including
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$480 million of formula funds for bridge replacement to supplement the bridge investment act. it's not just brent spence that needs help. it's the western hills viaduct in hamilton county. it's i-70 in columbus and franklin county. it's u.s. 30 in richland county and north central ohio. it's the broad street bridge in columbus. it's major projects and smaller bridges on rural farm listeneds that -- farmlands that let farmers get goods to market. i talked with 81-year-old howard krueger. he lives in wyoming, ohio, outside of cincinnati. he's retired from prosecute ter and gamble. as he was -- a piece of the western via duct fell on his windshield. he got out of his car, picked up the rock about as big as his fist, a little bigger. took it with him. we talked about it in a radio news conference we did. it's a pretty visceral example of what we all know. our nation's infrastructure is
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literally crumbling. we need this investment. think about the economic potential waiting to be unleashed when we fix these crumbling bridges. the kind of bottlenecks that frustrate commuters and farmers and businesses in ohio every day. madam president, i want to thank our bipartisan cosponsors of the bridge investment act, senators wyden, the chair of the senate finance committee, senator whitehouse, senator inhofe from oklahoma, senator whitehouse from rhode island. early partners in this effort. i want to thank chairman carper and ranking member capito just across the river from southeast ohio from west virginia. the e.p.w. committee for their continued support. madam president, the banking, housing committee also provided a major part of this infrastructure package. it includes record, record investment in public transportation. the presiding officer sits on this as a prominent member of this committee. she knows as i know that through her career and through my career for almost -- for a decade and a
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half, as long as i remember, this committee is just referred to by the media and senators as the banking committee. it was all about wall street. it was little about community banks. it was almost nothing about housing. that's changed. this committee now we all refer to as the banking and housing committee. some refer to it as the housing and banking committee. and in this committee we take our job with public transit seriously. this package contains historic funding. $90 billion over the next five years. $40 billion increase for public transit, the largest ever. it will connect people with better jobs. it will promote equity. it will help our planet. the banking and housing committee held extensive hearings this spring on infrastructure and transit. we heard from ohioans like daryl hailley who heads southwest ohio regional transit authority. we heard from the mayor of akron. we heard over and over again what we need to revitalize these essential systems, whether in
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cleveland where i live or youngstown or toledo or anywhere in our state. we provide a billion and a half dollars so that cities like cleveland and ranking member toomey's biggest city in his state, philadelphia can replace rail cars that unbelievably date back to the reagan administration or earlier. this bill ensures that public transportation receives more than 20% of the new investment from the highway trust fund. it's consistent with historic -- senator shelby once chair of this committee retiring after 30 -- i believe 36, 37 years on this committee, he talked to me about that 80/20 split that's been here as long as he's been here, a tradition that both parties have respected. this bill takes a huge step toward electrifying the transit bus fleet. providing over $5 billion for the low and no, no emission, low emission program. it will mean taking off -- taking those buses -- modernizing the bus fleets in
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every city in america. these funds will also retrain workers who maintain our current diesel fleet. every electric bus purchase will keep and create good-paying jobs. this bill will support investments in flood mitigation, an important issue that members of the banking and housing committee especially senator menendez but a number of senators in both parties who represent coastal states from massachusetts, the presiding officer's state, all the way to louisiana, senator kennedy's state. i want to thank the members of the committee, banking, housing committee including ranking member toomey who worked to reauthorize federal transit programs. i particularly want to thank our housing and transit subcommittee chair tina smith from minnesota and the subcommittee's ranking member senator rounds from south dakota. i've worked with both of them. i've been to their subcommittee. their efforts have been especially important to improve rural transit, including in
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india country. we're going to keep working to help rural transit agencies even more. we had hearings under the leadership of -- of chairman crapo three or four years ago where i heard stories from rural -- senators in smaller states, mostly republican, talking about the importance of rural transit where someone who lives out in the country, a bus, a paratransit bus picks her up, takes her to her dialysis treatment and takes her back. that's different from city, urban, big city bus transit but equally important to families. i thank our democratic members for their strong focus on transit. senator menendez from new jersey, senator reed from rhode island continue to be leaders in fighting for a fair share of funds for transit. senator tester from montana, senator warner from virginia played a key role in ensuring the committee's transit title move forward in the bipartisan negotiations. our committee, the banking,
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housing committee owe them special thanks. senator warner and senator van hollen from maryland fought to reauthorize funds for ohio -- for america's subway, the washington, d.c. metro system serving millions in this region. and senator van hollen's legislation to improve agency safety plans and give workers stronger voice in safety matters as a big victory for labor. the chair of the labor committee just walked in and her work on these issues, in this case bus safety but safety of workers overall is so very important. we know that bus drivers are often a special target and protecting them is essential. senators warnock and ossoff, our newest mechanics on the committee from georgia helped us fight for better rapid transit. something that metro atlanta cries out for and they've been loud, strong voices on that. senator cortez masto contributed provisions with housing needs. i want to thank the presiding
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officer, senator warren, and other members of our caucus who kept advocating for zero emission buses, not just for boston but for the whole country. these buses help fight the climate crisis. they help clean the air in neighborhoods plagued by air pollution. people in inner cities more often than not, the quality of the air they breathe is -- that's partly because there aren't many trees. it's partly because of public transit. it's part lir -- it's a whole host of issues but this takes a major step in dealing with that i want to thank senator duckworth. the americans with disability act became law 20 years ago but some of our rail stations still remain inaccessible. my friend senator casey who sits next to me on the floor, chair of the aging committee, we were proud to cosponsor her proposal. her bill provides almost $2 billion for accessibility grants. senators duckworth, casey and i will continue to push for more resources until every transit
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station is accessible. i want to thank senator sinema, also a mechanic of our committee, and -- member of our committee and senator portman for bringing this momentous infrastructure package together. madam president, it's obvious how some of the job creation this package will happen, you build a bridge. you lay down rail tracks. you hire american workers to do it. none of these jobs ever in an infrastructure plan can be shipped overseas. but this investment, madam president, is different from those that have come before it. for the first time every single one of these projects will come from the strongest ever, the strongest ever buy america rules. it means we get more job creation from wichita to seattle to boston to cleveland. we get more job creation for every single dollar of taxpayer investment. throughout my time in the senate i've worked to strengthen our nation's buy america laws at every opportunity, and there have always been interest groups in this town that have written loopholes into these laws and
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weakened these laws. for instance, one of the most expensive bridges in american history, the bay bridge, in northern california, a loophole enabled it to be made entirely of chinese steel from a company owned by the chinese government. think of that. we talk -- you know, we talk all the time about china. our corporations lobby to get tax breaks and trade agreements to outsource jobs to china. we don't see the hypocrisy there. we don't see the hypocrisy in letting china make the steel for the bay bridge. but nonetheless, those days are behind us. we know how much steel can go into a bridge and how many steelworkers in cleveland or middletown or gary, indiana, can be employed to make this steel. i've worked with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to strengthen buy america laws in the highway bill and defense authorization act and the water resource and development act. these efforts have been piecemeal. that's piecemeal. that's why i asked senator
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portman to join me and senator baldwin in build america, buy america, a bill we introduced on president trump's inawtion ration -- inauguration day. we worked with other leaders on buy america and will continue to. i especially call our senator baldwin. four years later now we're finally -- took four years. we're finally getting it right. we're putting in place a clear, comprehensive standard american tax dollars should support american jobs, period. american tax dollars should support american jobs, period. these historic investments will support ohio manufacturers and knock their foreign competitors. with potential for hundreds of bridge repair projects alone, this investment in ohio combined with our strong buy america rules means job creation in every region of my manufacturing state. it keeps the promise i've made to ohioans my entire career that i'd fight for the dignity of work. when you love your country, you fight for the people who make it work to ensure the industrial heartland would be the engine of
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opportunity that drives us into a 21st century economy. finally, i'm supporting this bill and excited for all the investments it will make in ohio communities and ohio jobs. i'm disappointed that my -- that a number of my colleagues rejected the idea that we should pay for this bill by enforcing our country's tax laws. i oppose the provision forcing home buyers to pay more each month to help fund investments that wealthy tax cheats should pay for. the money that home buyers pay should be going towards keeping our housing system stable, making sure that everyone has an affordable home. we can do more. we will do more in the coming months to address affordable housing. you all heard those that were in the chamber heard senator sanders talking about the importance of housing and the reconciliation bill. ly come down to the floor later today and talk in some detail about that. finally, madam president, i would be remiss if i did not thank my staff for their hard work on this effort. many of them had planned august
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vacations. it's the only time of year where they really get sort of untram balanced, -- untrammeled, unrestricted time with their families. all of them have given up something already this month in july. their -- they're public servants for sure. they understand commitment. they do this without complaining. their hard work has been so obvious to me and so obvious to people that pay attention not necessarily obvious to my constituents. and i want to call them out. homer carlisle was intra emergency in helping negotiate and craft the transit title and the bridge legislation. ben lockshan, a fellow from the federal transit administration assisted in these efforts. i want to thank rebecca higgins and mary francis rip consist co and senator carper's staff. my staff works closely with them. robert andraz with chairman wyden. chairman wyden is chair of one of the most important committees in this congress and has been a
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leader in wanting the wealthy to pay their fair share and wants to make sure it's large corporations that share the taxpayer bill and -- the tax burden and pay their fair share and less burden on small business. aaron goldner formally -- formerly with senator whitehouse and leah hill. they all made the bridge legislation possible. in my office beth cooper provided technical assistance on the very complicated flood mitigation portion of this bill. megan cheney and chad bolton, elijah and cory fryer provided the analyses and guidance on matters related to the bill's pay for. care lina young new on my staff making her mark. and abigail worked on the buy america provisions. my staff has worked with others on buy america over the years but sam with senator portman's staff, brian with senator baldwin have been particularly helpful. i want to recognize my former
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aid nora todd who led our efforts for much of a decade on buy america. through all of this, joining me on the floor is laura swanson respecting my staff director, who works unbelievable hours with a small child and continues to be a terrific mother and wife and an amazing staff director, and i say exactly the same about our legislative director, jeremy, who is not a terrific mother but a terrific father with his family and has worked so very, very hard holding all of this together for over a decade. so i thank my staff. i thank my colleagues. this legislation -- i remember saying to senator casey on march 6 when we passed the american rescue plan, i turned to him because of the child tax credit and what we did with pensions and so much else that senator murray had work on too, i turned to bob and said, this is the best way of my legislative life.
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well, this bill today is almost as big in its scope and is so very important to this country. and i am pleased to add my support to it. i yield the floor. mr. moran: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: madam president, thank you. i joined the bipartisan infrastructure group of 22 senators. i am one of the originals. and i did so for a number of reasons. one, how important infrastructure is to kansas and to the country. i'd highlight the importance of infrastructure investment to my state. we're in the middle of the country, where our manufactured goods and agriculture commodities need to be able to compete in the world economy, and how efficiently and effectively we get those goods
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and those commodities to market has a huge consequence to the ability for kansans to earn a living. across our state, from southeast kansas to southwest kansas, from the suburbs of kansas city and johnson county and wyandotte county, all across kansas shall the demand for improved roads, greater safety is there. there is a great desire to see that roads and bridges are erepaired. county commissioners and trustees of our townships have called to say, we have a bridge. could you help us do something about that? so i'm -- i entered this group of 22 senators -- i was one of the 11 to provide some input and to see that kansas priorities, that we had a seat at the table and to help negotiate a deal that didn't raise taxes, that didn't spend trillions of dollars and focused on actual, traditional infrastructure and to avoid what i fear is to follow, what i would describe
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sasse a democratic wish -- what i would describe as a democratic wish list. i wanted this to be a smaller, more affordable, paid-for package that was not excessive in scope, didn't add to the national debt and did not raise taxes on the american people. this package includes a number of priorities of mine, including an historic increase in investment in broadband and does provide critical resources to repair our roads, bridges, and airports. so desire for a seat at the table, a desire to invest in infrastructure, and i also would add a desire to see that this united states senate, republicans and democrats, can work together for a beneficiary product, a beneficiary -- a beneficial product to the american people. however, from the very going up, i outlined criteria that would need to be met for my support on any final outcome of the negotiations. my priority was that the bill be paid for and, therefore, not raise the national debt.
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half of the new spending in this bill is not offset, is not offset with reduced spending or increases in nontax revenues. the congressional budget office scores this bill as adding a quarter of a trillion dollars to the national debt. my view has been from the beginning, if we can only find offsets to pay for a certain amount. in this case, about a half of the increased spending included in this bill, then the size of our bill should be half of what it is. if you could only find a way to pay for half of what you're spending, then spend less money, spend half as much less money. that, of course, was not the outcome of these negotiations. additionally had i'd hoped that this bipartisan plan would dissuade democrats from pursuing their own partisan $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend spree. the democratic plan to immediately follow this bipartisan infrastructure bill with their own spending bill significantly undermines the
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bipartisan effort to deliver a good outcome for people of this country. i had hoped that if we reached a bipartisan agreement -- in fact, i had hoped that bipartisan agreement would be reached among the 22 senators, but pretty early in the negotiations it became clear that there was a significant input in direction from the biden administration and from the majority leader, the democratic majority leader in the united states senate. so instead of negotiating with my colleagues and seeking an outcome that we supported, it had to be run by those who are in the white house and those who are in the leadership of the democratic members of the united states senate. so my desire to see that we pass or reach an agreement to pass a bill that would be paid for did not occur, was not met. that criteria was not met. and the desire to see democratic senators say that if we do this together, we're not going to do something else on our own.
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and in fact some of the things we negotiated in or out of the bipartisan package will now be included in the broader package of the democratic wish list. so it didn't make -- doesn't make a lot of sense to me to reach an agreement, only to discover that in a succeeding bill, one that immediately follows, the things that we negotiated in or out are now included or taken out. so the bipartisan nature of the agreement is, in many ways, offset by the bill that follows. reaching an infrastructure deal in a bipartisan way would send a great message that we're capable of working together, and i certainly indicate to my colleagues -- i'd particularly indicate to senator sinema, the senator from arizona, how much i appreciate her efforts to pull us together and to lead our meetings with a productive way. and i would say again that i'm open to those opportunities.
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i'm saddened by the fact that this did not reach an agreement that i can support. but i certainly indicate to my colleagues that i'm willing to work with republican and democrat members of the senate to see that in other instances we can come together in a way that's -- that provides hope for the american people, that we can work together in a better product than we were able to reach in this instance. unfortunately, to sum up, there is too much spending, too much debt, and, therefore, there will be too much inflation. my efforts to reach a compromise were honest and sincere, and i regret that we were unable to arrive at a bill that i can support. mr. president, i yield the floor.cer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, at long last, tomorrow morning, i expect that the senate will approve the bipartisan infrastructure investment and

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