Republican governors mostly silent on infrastructure bill

Democratic governors hailed passage of a bipartisan infrastructure package that will send billions of dollars to state coffers to launch new projects and rebuild crumbling roads and bridges.

But only a handful of their Republican colleagues heralded the bill, which won votes from 19 Republican senators and 13 Republicans in the House.  

“This bipartisan bill will put America’s infrastructure on the right track to grow jobs and make our economy competitive for the twenty-first century without raising taxes or adding to the debt,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said in a statement. “After decades of gridlock, I’m proud to have helped push the federal government to finally act.”

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Hogan, who spent a year as chairman of the bipartisan National Governors Association (NGA) during former President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE’s term in office, hosted a bipartisan group of governors and members of Congress to lay out priorities. 

The current chair of the NGA, Arkansas Gov. Asa HutchinsonAsa HutchinsonGOP governors press Biden administration for control of infrastructure implementation Sarah Huckabee Sanders raises .8M since launch of Arkansas governor campaign Wisconsin GOP bill would count prior COVID-19 infection as immunity MORE (R), praised Congress for passing the bill.

“Governors commend Congress for setting aside partisan differences to pass a bill that works for the American people. States stand ready to immediately put these funds to good use to fix and improve our nation’s infrastructure,” Hutchinson said. 

Hutchinson, who cannot run for reelection because of term limits, was the only governor of a reliably red state to comment on the bill. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) was the only other Republican governor to offer praise.

“This bill, with support from both sides of the aisle, is a very important step forward for our country and will significantly benefit our state,” Scott said. “We know the majority of Americans support infrastructure investments and seeing bipartisan work – even though it was difficult – to get this done shows we can still unite around common goals.”

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In a series of supportive statements, Democratic governors touted the billions earmarked for their states. California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomVirginia's Youngkin gets the DeSantis treatment from media Equilibrium/Sustainability — Solar-powered cars on the EV horizon Newsom vows crackdown: Rail car looting like 'third world country' MORE (D) said his state expects to see more than $45 billion in dollars earmarked for highways, bridges, public transportation, water and wildfire prevention projects. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom WolfTom WolfEd Gainey sworn in as Pittsburgh's first Black mayor The COVID-19 endgame may be here Pennsylvania GOP Senate votes to bar school children from COVID-19 requirement MORE (D) praised the “quality, good-paying union jobs” he said the bill would create.

The disparity between Democratic and Republican governors is an extension of the partisanship that infects Capitol Hill, where even infrastructure — once virtually guaranteed to win bipartisan support — has become an area of contention. The small number of Republicans who voted for the package, mostly members who represent urban areas and old guard members like Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungWest Virginia lawmaker slams GOP colleague over support for infrastructure law Congress to take up marijuana reform this spring Thanks to President Biden, infrastructure is bipartisan again — it needs to stay that way MORE (R-Alaska), came under criticism from fellow conservatives who said they had helped advance President BidenJoe BidenUS threatens sweeping export controls against Russian industries Headaches intensify for Democrats in Florida US orders families of embassy staff in Ukraine to leave country MORE’s agenda. 

Hogan, who is said to be considering a run for president, criticized the convoluted path that congressional Democrats took in approving the measure, long held by progressives as a bargaining chip to ensure votes on Biden’s domestic policy agenda in a reconciliation package. 

“I mean, [Biden] nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It should’ve been an overwhelming win back in August, and I think he should not have let it get sidetracked by the progressives in the House,” Hogan said on CNN’s "State of the Union" on Sunday. “Joe Biden won a very narrow election by winning swing voters, and they’re not where the progressive caucus is, I can assure you, and the vast majority of Americans are not for this second bill.”