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Idaho senators vote to move nearly $1 trillion federal infrastructure bill forward: 'It is a reasonable solution'

"It uses previously appropriated, but unspent, COVID relief funds and thus results in no tax increase," Sen. Risch told The 208.
Credit: Official photos
Sen. Mike Crapo (left) and Sen. Jim Risch

BOISE, Idaho — In a rare display of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, senators voted 67-32 to begin the formal process of introducing a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Among the Republicans who vote for Democrats' spending package was Idaho Senator Jim Risch. In a statement sent to The 208, the Republican senator said he voted for it because if the proposal doesn't pass, Democrats will include it in their $3.5 trillion spending plan.

"If we do not pass this proposal, the Democrats, with their majority power, will put this spending into their monstrous $3.5 trillion tax and spending bill and the amount will be significantly and wastefully larger, and result in a tax increase," Risch said in a statement.

The infrastructure bill has billions of dollars in funding for projects in Idaho. The Gem State would receive $2.5 billion for the state's roads and highways and $213 million for clean water projects. The spending package also includes $5.5 billion for drought resiliency for Western states, $25 billion for airport improvement projects and $3.3 billion for wildfire risk reduction plans. 

Another $30 billion will be set aside for work on bridges and will be distributed to states based on need. Idaho has 286 bridges that are rated as structurally deficient.

“I voted to move ahead on the infrastructure bill because it is a reasonable solution to address the pressing need of our deteriorating roads and bridges," he said. "It uses previously appropriated, but unspent, COVID relief funds and thus results in no tax increase."

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo also voted yea on the infrastructure proposal.

In a statement sent to The 208, Sen. Crapo said spending money on infrastructure like roads and bridges will boost American workers' productivity.

"Infrastructure should be done in a bipartisan and fiscally responsible manner, with reauthorization of the FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act as a central piece of any package," he said in a statement. "The proposal repurposes certain unused COVID-relief funds, so it doesn’t increase the overall spending by the full amount."

Crapo added that the proposal conservatives and Republicans support the non-inflationary spending and it will repurpose funds originally set aside for COVID-19 relief.

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