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.
Highlights of Romney’s remarks can be found below and video can be found here.
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 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.
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.