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  • Writer's pictureDavid M. Rubin

A Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Bill? Not For Tim Scott, Our Senator “NO”.

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

At least Senator Tim Scott is consistent.

Just as he voted "no" in July on the cloture motion to advance debate on the $1.2 trillion Investment in America Act, he voted "no" today on the Act itself.

A self-described bi-partisan problem solver, Scott could not find a way to join 19 of his fellow Republicans to support this truly bi-partisan infrastructure bill. Mind you, this is a bill that will bring billions of dollars to South Carolina for ports, roads, bridges and more, money this state desperately needs and will happily spend. And yet Scott voted no. (Lindsey Graham voted yes.)

To understand why, I went to his website and found this statement for the media. My guess is you haven’t seen it. So here it is, in its illogical entirety:

"I support targeted investment in upgrading our nation's roads, bridges, ports, broadband, and other real infrastructure needs. But I cannot support more reckless spending on unrelated pet projects that will suffocate our future generations with mountains of debt. Rather than taking a common sense approach to investing in infrastructure, this bill has been rushed through so Democrats can spend trillions more dollars we don't have on liberal policies we don't need---all amid record inflation. American families cannot afford to foot the bill for this 'spend now, tax later' plan, which is why I voted no."

This mendacious claptrap deserves some footnoting.

First, this bill is targeted for quite specific traditional infrastructure projects. Scott offers not a clue about what a more "targeted" bill would be. Scott could have demonstrated real bi-partisan credentials by working with his ten Republican colleagues to craft the bill so it was more to his liking. Instead, he stood on the sidelines, throwing rocks and offering nothing of his own. Try to find any infrastructure plan with Tim Scott’s name on it. Good luck.

Second, he makes reference to "pet projects." Again, there are no specifics. If the Investment in America Act is $1.2 trillion in pet projects, perhaps he can find one or two to expose.

Third, if he is truly concerned about suffocating future generations with debt, why did he vote for the Trump tax cuts that were a gift to corporate America and the wealthy? Why won't he support providing resources to the IRS so it can collect what honest taxpayers are owed by tax cheats, such as former President Trump?

Fourth, this legislation is "rushed?" Maybe he prefers the pace of the Republican effort under Trump to pass an infrastructure bill. He and Trump had four years to get it done and they failed, just as Trump failed at every legislative initiative. Scott's timetable for long overdue infrastructure investment seems to be "never."

Fifth, we come to his real problem. Scott knows this is a perfectly reasonable infrastructure bill, so he pivots to criticizing the $3.5 trillion bill that will fund environmental, social, health care, and education needs. That bill will be next up in the Congress. If he doesn’t like the $3.5 trillion bill he can vote against it (as he will). But don’t use that as a reason to duck responsibility for voting against the Investment in America Act.

Sixth, what "record inflation?" Scott may not remember the inflation of the 1970s under Ford and Carter. I do. Today, compared to that, we have no serious inflationary problems, as the Federal Reserve has made clear. Perhaps Scott thinks he is a better economist than the Fed Governors.

Ironically, Scott’s big bi-partisan piece of legislation---police reform— seems hopelessly stalled. He is going to need a lot of Democratic votes in the Senate to pass it. Perhaps he should have considered the message he sent to Democrats today by voting no on a sensible, needed piece of real bi-partisan legislation. What goes around comes around.

Here is a parlor game: How quickly will Scott take credit for infrastructure spending in South Carolina when the paving and the dredging begin? Voters cannot let him get away with it.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Blogger David M. Rubin is the former Dean of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is a former columnist for the Syracuse Post-Standard and an expert on First Amendment law (speech and press). He lives in Summerville.

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