Sen. Tillis, Rep. Manning share views on infrastructure, Afghanistan

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(WGHP) — Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has her work cut out for her, keeping her party together on getting an infrastructure bill and President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” bill passed.

One person she doesn’t have to convince, though is North Carolina 6th district Congresswoman Kathy Manning.

“I am in favor of that infrastructure bill, I would vote for it, today if it were brought to the House floor,” Manning said.

The main reason it isn’t on the House floor is the progressive wing of the party lead by New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and independent Bernie Sanders, who say they want the “human infrastructure” bill passed first. That’s the one with trillions in social spending. But Manning says that has its place too.

“That is equally important,” she says. “We know, right now – I hear almost every day from employers who can’t find enough people to fill open jobs. One of the reasons we have this problem is we had so many childcare facilities shut down during COVID – we didn’t have enough childcare facilities to begin with.”

“Let’s make a distinction between a roads and bridges infrastructure bill and what they’re billing as ‘human infrastructure,’” North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis said. “[The human infrastructure bill] has devastating tax increases, it’s dishonest to say only the rich are going to pay for it. In fact, I think our economy will suffer. If you look under the covers of some of their tax proposals, they’re regressive taxes that are going to harm poor people the most. At a time when we’re trying to encourage more manufacturing, more products manufactured in the United States, we’re going to set the bar so high that even some of our current manufacturing is likely to move to a lower-cost jurisdiction to remain competitive.”

Tillis – and North Carolina’s other senator, Richard Burr – are both Republicans and both voted for the smaller bill that would pay for what most people consider traditional infrastructure, things like roads, bridges, airports and public broadband in rural areas.

Meanwhile, Tillis believes the last 20 years the US spent in Afghanistan were not wasted, even after the bungled withdrawal of troops recently.

“I believe we’ve sown the seeds of freedom in Afghanistan, right now. I, personally, think it was a mistake the way President Biden executed the evacuation and the so-called retrograde. But I don’t believe it was all in vain,” Tillis said.

But Tillis says there will be a cost to the US withdrawal, and it won’t be pretty.

“I think we’re going to see Afghanistan, first, become a safe haven for not only ISIS and al-Qaida but other terrorist organizations,” Tillis said. “I think the Taliban is going to find it very difficult to govern the country and it would not surprise me in the coming months – in just a few short years – to see Afghanistan descent into a very bloody civil war.”

Manning agrees that there is more work to be done in Afghanistan.

“We must make sure that Afghanistan does not foster or encourage terrorists who could harm the American people – that’s our first goal,” she said. “We also want to make sure that Afghanistan does not present a danger to our allies – that’s probably our second goal. And then, of course, we are hopeful that some of the advances that were made in Afghanistan, particularly for women and girls can be protected and I think that is going to require a coalition of countries around the world.”

See more from both Manning and Tillis in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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