Answers to those questions about what’s in Biden’s infrastructure bill

Political Notebook

(WGHP) — A trio of the state’s Democratic members of Congress on Wednesday expressed the advantages they saw for North Carolina in the nearly $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill that passed the House on Friday and is headed for President Joe Biden’s signature.

Reps. G.K. Butterfield, Deborah Ross and David Price – along with state Democratic Chair Bobbie Richardson – spoke in a Zoom session with reporters about the nearly $9 billion North Carolina will receive from the bill.

Reps. G.K. Butterfield, Deborah Ross and David Price

All of North Carolina’s five Democrats in the House supported the bill, as did Republican Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis. None of eight Republicans in the House voted for it, and most have decried the effects of the bill. Thirteen Republicans in the House did vote for it.

Ted Budd

“We were told this bill would focus on infrastructure. The truth is only $110 billion of the new spending in this bill will be spent on roads, bridges and items generally accepted as infrastructure,” 13th District Rep. Ted Budd (R-Davie) said in a statement after the bill passed the House.

The Washington Post gave four “Pinocchios” – its measuring unit for veracity – to a similar statement by former President Donald Trump that only 11% of the bill went for infrastructure. Politifact rated a similar statement by Rep Lisa McClain (R-Michigan) as “Pants On Fire” for being misleading if not flat wrong.

During the Zoom session, Ross, Butterfield and Price refuted those claims.

“That’s saying that [airport] runways and rapid rail transportation aren’t infrastructure,” said Price (Durham) of the 4th Congressional District.

Ross (2th District) addressed that even more directly: “We went program by program and decided that this really is the kind of infrastructure we are looking for. Infrastructure has changed in the 21st century. We didn’t even know broadband existed 30 or 40 years ago. This involves putting down cable and building towers.”

The bill allocates for North Carolina:

  • $7.2 billion for highway programs and $457 million for bridge replacement and repairs through congressional funding formulas.
  • $911 million for public transit.
  • $109 million for the next five years to expand EV charging stations, and $100 million for the next five years will address pollution in drinking water.
  • $100 million to improve access to broadband networks.

Other campaign/political news

Rep. Hudson weighs in on vaccine mandates

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Concord) is the incumbent in the new 10th Congressional District, which is comprised of the southwestern portion of Guilford County that includes High Point, western Davidson, southern Iredell and all of Rowan and Cabarrus counties. Hudson, who currently represents the 8th District, issued a statement decrying COVID-19 vaccine mandates: “President Biden’s latest vaccine mandates are an attack on health care workers labeled heroes just one year ago. While vaccines are critical to combat this pandemic, mandates without exemptions threaten liberties and undermine access to public health. I have heard directly from providers in my community like Cabarrus Health Alliance about how mandates will further create labor shortages and negatively impact patient care.”

A statue of Rev. Billy Graham

Budd, Tillis, Burr, Bishop, Hudson and Republican Reps. Greg Murphy (3rd District), David Rouzer (7th District) and Madison Cawthorn (11th District) this week proposed a resolution to advance their efforts to have a statue of the Rev. Billy Graham added to Statuary Hall at the Capitol. A release from Budd’s office said their resolution would force the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress to approve or deny the clay model of the statue and then the fully completed statue within 30-day windows.

Rep. Budd gets Defender of Small Business Award

Budd was in Asheboro this week to meet with elected leaders about job creation and issues facing small businesses, and he was awarded the Job Creators Network’s Defender of Small Business Award.

NC Sen. Jackson speaks at Greensboro town hall

State Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte), one of the numerous candidates for the U.S. Senate seat from which Burr is retiring, was in Greensboro Monday for a town-hall meeting on the N.C. A&T campus. Jackson said in a campaign release to mark one year to Election Day that he has held more than 130 such meetings in all 100 counties.

Chief Justice Beasley calls paid family leave a ‘priority’

Another Democrat seeking that position, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, this week used campaign-generated statements to say she would make paid family leave a “priority” if she were elected, that she was on Emily’s List of candidates who support abortion rights and that she would support eliminating the filibuster in the Senate to help pass legislation.

Rep. Cawthorn moves District; Hall not running

Cawthorn (R-Henderson) confirmed Thursday the idea he had teased on Wednesday: He will run in the new 13th Congressional District. He had been the incumbent in the new 14th District in maps adopted last week by the General Assembly. Some observers believed that 13th District was drawn as an opportunity for House Speaker Tim Moore to run, the News & Observer had reported. But Moore announced on Thursday that he will not run for Congress and will remain in the General Assembly. Another Republican, Karen Bentley of Huntersville, a former commissioner from Mecklenburg County, on Thursday formally announced her candidacy in the 13th District.

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