State Watch

GOP governors press Biden administration for control of infrastructure implementation

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A group of 16 Republican governors issued a letter to President Biden on Wednesday asking that state governments be given control over the implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

In their letter, the GOP governors, led by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, agreed that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act should proceed without “unnecessary bureaucracy and delay.”

“Therefore, we ask that your Office of Management and Budget (OMB), along with the respective federal agencies charged with implementation, draft regulations and guidance that defer to the states and confer maximum regulatory flexibility,” they said.

“Your administration should not attempt to push a social agenda through hard infrastructure investments and instead should consider economically sound principles that align with state priorities,” they added.

The $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill, significantly pared down from its original draft, was passed in the House in November after months of infighting among Democrats. The bill, which received support from 13 House Republicans in addition to all of the Democrats in the chamber save six progressives, provides funding for roads, bridges, transit, internet and clean drinking water access, among other provisions.

The bill was signed into law by Biden in mid-November. Its passage through Congress was heralded as a rare moment of bipartisanship.

In their letter, the GOP state leaders argued against “federal overreach,” saying that “excessive new discretionary grant programs” would “cause a programming and oversight nightmare.”

They called on Biden to do away with “duplicative regulatory reviews” where possible.

“Innovation, not regulation, is the driver of economic growth, and we ask that your administration not burden states or private sector partners with needless and unnecessary red tape,” they wrote.

“In addition to workforce shortages, supply chain disruptions, and sky-high inflation, your administration should halt any attempts to put unnecessary restrictions on the sourcing of labor or materials that would exacerbate the crises our industries are already facing,” the continued.

Republican Govs. Kay Ivey of Alabama, Mike Dunleavy of Alaska, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Brian Kemp of Georgia and Kristi Noem of South Dakota were among the signatories on the letter to Biden.

Tags Asa Hutchinson Bill Lee Bill Lee bipartisan infrastructure bill Brian Kemp Infrastructure Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Joe Biden Joe Biden Kay Ivey Kristi Noem Kristi Noem Office of Management and Budget

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