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CORRESPONDENT

Rep. Chris Smith to Newsmax: Vote for Infrastructure Bill Makes Passing BBB Harder

Rep. Chris Smith attends a campaign drive.
Rep. Chris Smith attends the Monmouth GOP Super Saturday campaign drive in Colts Neck, New Jersey, on June 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
 

John Gizzi By Thursday, 11 November 2021 06:03 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Two days after he became one of the 13 House Republicans to make possible the passage of the President’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith told Newsmax that the enactment of the measure leaves the national focus exclusively on the more controversial and costlier Build Back Better bill.

Smith, who has been criticized by conservatives as a "traitor," said that opponents of the two measures were trying to link support of one for the other. Various outlets have "claimed this bill included amnesty for illegal immigrants and the Green New Deal," he said. "And that just wasn’t so."

Smith added that "now that we’re done with the infrastructure bill, there is going to be a greater scrutiny on just what’s in the BBB and how much it will cost—and that won’t help it."

Members of the leftist "squad" have openly admitted as much. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, said she voted no because passing infrastructure gave up "the leverage" needed to pass the BBB. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., meanwhile said passage of the infrastructure bill "creates an uncertain future" for the BBB.

"I don’t know a single Republican who will vote for this—no one," Smith told us on Monday evening, adding that the social spending contained in the $1.75 trillion package makes it toxic for all Republicans in the House and even centrist Democrats.

The Garden State lawmaker cited language in the legislation "that expands abortion." "When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2009, President Obama permitted a provision that allows 25 states to opt out of paying for abortions on the [health care] exchanges."

The BBB, he said, "repeals that provision to a point where 13 of those states will be overturned."

As for his own vote to enact the infrastructure bill, Smith emphatically said "it was a bill dealing primarily with infrastructure and something my constituency desperately needed. We have bridges and roads in my district [Central Jersey] that haven’t been repaired since the 1930s, and an airport that needs updating. I had no hesitation about voting for it."

He also noted that the measure contained $55 billion in emergency funding for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, including $15 billion for lead service line replacement.

"This is something I have been pushing for over a year," said Smith, recalling his authorship of the ‘Get The Lead Out Act’ (HR 3300)" to overhaul lead-tainted pipelines throughout New Jersey.

Smith pointed out that roughly half the package is "money to fund projects that are already existing under current law" and that $550 billion is for spending on new infrastructure.

In defending his vote, the congressman did concede there are parts of it that are unrelated to infrastructure. One part of it that is particularly pushed by the Biden administration has been the expansion of Broadband availability, which is not usually considered in the same column as work on roads, airports, and bridges.

"But any legislation like this is going to have parts that are unrelated to its main portion," said Smith.

He recalled how when former President Donald Trump called for a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, he was one of the first House members to weigh in behind the 45th president.

Asked if Trump would have accepted tax dollars for non-infrastructure related projects in his infrastructure bill, Smith replied: "I think so. He wrote ‘The Art of the Deal,’ didn’t he?"

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John-Gizzi
Two days after he became one of the 13 House Republicans to make possible the passage of the President's $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith told Newsmax that the enactment of the measure leaves the national focus exclusively on the more...
chris smith, infrastructure, bbb, biden, trump
567
2021-03-11
Thursday, 11 November 2021 06:03 AM
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