WASHINGTON — A key Democratic lawmaker tweeted about what was happening in her district Wednesday while voting against infrastructure legislation that ultimately cleared the Senate.
“At 8 p.m. I will be in DC to vote ‘NO’ on a $1.7 trillion Infrastructure Bill. Then I will be touring a serious clean water project in DC that was completed last month. This is what I do for a living,” tweeted Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).
At 8 p.m. I will be in DC to vote “NO” on a $1.7 trillion Infrastructure Bill. Then I will be touring a serious clean water project in DC that was completed last month. This is what I do for a living. — Senator Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) June 20, 2018
Minutes later, the bill passed in the Senate 51-49, falling one vote short of the 60 needed to pass.
Democratic Senators were split, with four Republicans joining them in opposing the legislation. Baldwin, along with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), voted “no” on the bill.
“That is too much money in spending,” she said before voting against the bill.
Warren said the bill was “filled with pork” in her state. “This bill is all around awful and Senate Republicans are pushing for billions of dollars in sweetheart deals for their donors. I can’t support that bill,” she said.
“This bill is about $1.7 trillion in spending and is made up of big new investments in toll roads, bridges, tunnels, airport expansion, canal projects that could result in job losses in West Virginia and in towns across the country.”
McCaskill said on Twitter that she is “disappointed” with the Senate bill, which, she said, includes the “badly needed” Fixing America’s Surface Transportation, or FAST, Act — but will require 1 percent annual cuts in federal transportation spending as well as $2 billion in cuts to the Highway Trust Fund.
“This legislation is the worst of both worlds,” McCaskill said. “And it does no meaningful work to help make transportation more resilient, affordable and accessible to more of our residents.”
Warner also argued that the bill included spending that is “too great.”
“Overall, it’s a waste of money,” he said. “It will only add to our deficit and debt for years.”
Warner added that because the bill includes “three times as much borrowing and simply turns a blind eye to the fact that we face a huge challenge,” he would be voting against it.
Manchin also argued the Senate bill was a bad idea and he would be voting against it.
Baldwin tweeted in support of the FAST Act in November.
“The Senate FAST Act would have helped increase our ability to complete expensive transit projects at a pace that the Southwest Corridor is willing to move forward with,” she said in a statement. “Now, it appears the Senate Finance Committee has passed a version of the bill that includes virtually every one of my requested changes. I will be voting to increase capital investment in critical transportation infrastructure.”
In April, Baldwin said she was part of the effort to force a 60-vote threshold to pass the bill.
“I support the plan as proposed but believe there are provisions in the bill that need to be improved by improving openness and transparency,” she said in a statement. “As a Senator from Wisconsin and as chair of the Chamber’s Highways and Transit Group, I have worked to build and strengthen partnerships with Wisconsin communities. Having said that, I will continue to work with colleagues in both parties to make sure that Minnesota, Wisconsin and all the regions across the United States benefit from the kind of infrastructure investment that is desperately needed to maintain our roads, bridges and transit systems.”