Finance

Alabama Republican touts provision in infrastructure bill he voted against

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) this week touted a provision in the bipartisan infrastructure law that President Biden signed on Monday, despite the fact that he voted against the legislation.

Palmer issued a statement Monday highlighting a provision under which Alabama will receive $369 million over five years for a road project in the state called the Northern Beltline.

“This is the opportunity we have been working for as a region and a state,” Palmer said. “Now is the time for us to take advantage of it and complete the work by finishing the Northern Beltline and building a better future for the Birmingham metro area and central Alabama.”

Palmer’s statement drew criticism on Twitter from Democratic lawmakers such as Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.), who noted that he voted against the infrastructure package.

“You mean the funding you voted against? That funding?” Swalwell tweeted.

Palmer spokeswoman Elizabeth Hance said in a statement that the congressman would have voted for stand-alone legislation he authored that included funding for the Northern Beltline. Hance also said that Palmer noted his support for funding the Alabama project in his statement about his vote against the infrastructure package.

“Had they brought the bill he authored to the floor as a stand-alone piece of legislation, or even a package that was truly paid-for infrastructure, he would have supported the overall bill. They did not,” Hance said. ”It should not be surprising that he supports a provision that he authored and that was noted in [Palmer’s] initial [statement] about the infrastructure bill.”

“The bill was full of problems, including items not related to traditional infrastructure,” she added. “The overall bill will increase energy costs, drive up the debt, and pave the way for more wasteful spending.”

In his Nov. 6 statement about the vote on the infrastructure bill, Palmer said that “Democrats have shown they are willing to recklessly push through a bill that costs over a trillion dollars with only about 10 percent going to roads and bridges.” He added that “at least the bill includes legislation which I introduced with Rep. David Trone (D-MD) that includes funding for the Birmingham Northern Beltline.”

Only 13 House Republicans voted for the infrastructure law, while nearly every Democratic House member backed the measure.

Updated at 10:59 a.m.

Tags Alabama Biden infrastructure Brian Schatz David Trone Eric Swalwell Gary Palmer Infrastructure spending Joe Biden

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