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Washington state Congressmembers split on infrastructure bill

The $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act cleared the U.S. Senate yesterday with a 69-vote majority, and comes loaded with a slew of potential investments for Washington state, but it’s ultimate passage isn’t certain. 

The infrastructure act, which passed with bipartisan support foreshadows a larger political showdown over a $3.5 trillion package that includes funding to address climate change, health and child care, and education. 

Also critically, the New York Times reports that the Congressional Progressive Caucus stated in a letter to House leadership that they would not vote to approve the $1 trillion infrastructure bill if the Senate did not also approve the more contentious $3.5 trillion package. 

However, the letter stated many progressive members of Congress likely would not vote to approve the infrastructure bill without passage of the second. The letter was reportedly signed by Washington state Rep. Pramila Jayapal, among others. Both Washington state Senators, Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell, voted to approve the infrastructure bill. 

Other Washington state Representatives have sent opposing signals, including Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, whose staff told The Columbian that she was “relieved” at the passage of the bill. The staffer stopped short of saying she would vote for it though until she had a chance to examine it more closely. 

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was reported by the Moscow-Pullman Daily News to have criticized the infrastructure bill at an Aug. 10 town hall meeting where she questioned its impacts on inflation. 

The infrastructure bill includes $110 billion for repairing and rebuilding roads and bridges, $39 billion to repair and upgrade transit systems, and $66 billion for rail upgrades and expansions. It also includes $65 billion for clean energy transmission and another $65 billion to make sure every American has access to broadband internet. 

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