Dem: Republicans throwing infrastructure 'under the bus’

A Washington state Democrat is accusing Republicans of “throwing American infrastructure … under the bus” after a bridge collapse there this week.

The portion of Interstate 5 in Washington that runs over the Skagit River collapsed on Thursday after a truck hit an overhead support structure, but Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) cited the incident in an interview as proof Republicans were blocking infrastructure investment to hurt President Obama politically.

“Well, they have clearly spent the whole last five years trying to tear the president down, but they have done it by throwing the American infrastructure and the society under the bus,” McDermott said in an interview with MSNBC host Al Sharpton.  

ADVERTISEMENT
“We have the most long-term unemployed that we have had since the 1930s and there's no excuse for that,” McDermott continued. “There is plenty of work in this society that needs to be done and all it means is that the Congress has to step up, put the money up, and we can have it."

McDermott suggested that lawmakers could find extra money to pay for transportation projects by raising the 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal gas tax.


More from The Hill
• Republican lawmakers hear complaints about wider abuses from IRS
• Sessions: Senate immigration bill will 'hammer working Americans'
• Senators fight to cut more farm bill spending


"We haven't raised the gas tax for bridges and highway since 1993," McDermott said. "And there is just no reason that we shouldn't be doing this and putting America back to work. All the other problems that face us would be gone if we had put people back to work.”


Transportation advocates seized upon the Washington bridge collapse since Friday to argue that lawmakers should provide more funding for infrastructure improvements across the country.

No deaths were reported in the incident, but parts of the bridge are still in the water.