U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today spoke on the Senate floor about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, bipartisan infrastructure legislation negotiated by Senator Romney and his colleagues.
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today spoke on the Senate floor about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, bipartisan infrastructure legislation negotiated by Senator Romney and his colleagues. Details on how the bill would benefit Utah can be found here, and text of the legislation can be found here.
Transcript of Romney’s remarks can be found below and video can be found here.
There’s no question but that there are many opportunities to improve the legislation, as written, and the chance for our colleagues to offer adjustments and improvements is part of our tradition and a good part of our tradition. I would concur that we do need to upgrade our infrastructure. I think most Americans who’ve experienced our infrastructure would come to the same conclusion. Too often our roads are in need of repair. Many times we have communities that are not connected with high-speed travel opportunities from one part of the city to another. Our transit in some cases is old, slow, and does not reach communities that need it. Our rail system, particularly along the Northeast, which is an important corridor for travel, is way out of date. Some people know you can drive between some cities, where trains you can drive faster than you can take the train. We have structurally deficient and dangerous bridges that need to be repaired.
I think there is general agreement on both sides of the aisle that we need to improve our infrastructure. If you travel in other countries and you see what they’re doing and then you compare where we are, you think, boy, we used to lead the world in these things and now we’re not. It is having an impact on our productivity as a nation because of the additional travel time necessary for us to get to and from work, as well as other endeavors.
If that’s going to happen, we have only two options right now, and probably for the indefinite future. Right now we have a circumstance where my party is in the minority, not by much. We’re basically tied here in the Senate, although the tie is broken by the Vice President. So the Democrats have a majority in the Senate, in the House, and of course with the White House. Given that circumstance, it’s possible for the Democrats to write an infrastructure bill all by themselves and simply pass it through a process known as reconciliation. That’s one option. The other option is to work together on a bipartisan basis where we craft a better bill with the input of Republicans and Democrats. That’s the option that’s before us now. There is not a third alternative, which is Republicans only draft the bill. I’d love that alternative. It’s just not available to us because we don’t hold the House, the Senate, and the White House. So we have two options. Do we want our Democrat colleagues to draft a bill all by themselves or do we want to work together with Republicans and Democrats and fashion something that’s bipartisan?
Now I note that when you work on a bipartisan basis, there are some things the Democrats will want to include that we Republicans would rather not have there, and it’s obvious that that’s the case. I’m sure that’s the case for the Democrats as well. They’ll see things that we’ve included that they would just as soon not have there, and it’s very easy for either side or both sides, rather, to point out things in the bipartisan bill that they don’t like, and to attack it as not being fully informative with their views. But that’s the nature of two parties working together.
Now some would say we could do better. Let’s have another alternative, a different bipartisan approach. My answer is, go at it. Have at it. No one’s keeping people from working together if they want to come up with a better piece of legislation. Boy, I’d be anxious to see what it is. But in order to get a bill passed, it must be acceptable to Democrats and Republicans. And that’s unless in my party we’re able to have all Republicans in, I mean a majority in the House and Senate and White House, which we don’t have at this stage.
Again, the alternative is if you can come up with a better bipartisan bill do it. Two, amend it as you feel appropriate, and I think there are good amendments that are coming forward that I have supported and will support going forward. But we must not let the desire for perfection on the part of people like myself overcome the desire to have a good bill ultimately reached. I think it’s actually counterproductive for either side to take attack shots at the items in the bill they don’t like. Instead bring forward amendments, see if you can improve the bill. If you can’t do that, come up with a bill that has bipartisan support because that’s the only alternative we face other than a bill drafted exclusively by Democrats.
I for one think this bill is a good bill on balance. It will be good for my state. I think it will be good for every state. We’ll get an upgrade, a badly needed upgrade in the infrastructure of this country. Again, is it ideal? Perfect? Far from it. But it’s a big step forward and one heck of a huge step of advantage relative to having one party alone write a piece of legislation. I think it’s fair to say if Democrats alone write an infrastructure bill, my state of Utah won’t be real happy by the time that’s done.