April 04, 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to talk about President Biden’s $2.25 trillion so-called ‘infrastructure’ plan that spends less than a third on transportation infrastructure, and is paid for with job-destroying tax hikes as the economy begins recovering from the pandemic.
On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Blunt talked about security at the U.S. Capitol, and further discussed the opportunity there would be for a bipartisan infrastructure package that is more narrowly focused on meeting the critical infrastructure needs of the country.
On President Biden’s $2.25 Trillion Plan that Only Spends 30% on Transportation Infrastructure:
WALLACE: President Trump talked about an infrastructure program for years of his presidency, even though he never actually offered one. Doesn't the country need a significant infrastructure upgrade?
BLUNT: Oh, absolutely. You know, location, geography, one of our great advantages. We need that. It was sort of the great white whale of the last ten years, frankly. Neither President Obama or President Trump could seem to get this moving in the right direction. I think there's an easy win here for the White House if they would take that win, which is make this an infrastructure package, which is about 30%. Even if you stretch the definition of infrastructure some, it's about 30% of the $2.25 trillion they're talking about spending. […]
I think it's a big mistake for the administration. They know I think it's a mistake. And I also think it would be an easy victory if we go back and look at roads and bridges and ports and airports and maybe even underground water systems and broadband. You'd still be talking about less than 30 percent of this entire package and it's an easily doable 30%, I think, Chris.
On Security at the U.S. Capitol:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Blunt, thanks for joining us this morning. You just heard General Honoré right there. He said it's time for Congress to pass this funding.
BLUNT: Well, in terms of supplemental budget, I agree with that. I think we need to be looking at what our needs are. We need to be thinking about how we're gathering intelligence as it relates to the Capitol, and what we're doing to recruit, and what we're doing to train. I think that's maybe even more important than the size of the force. As the former chairman of the Rules Committee, and now the top Republican on that committee, certainly working with Capitol Police to help solve these problems and working generally to look at how we secure the Capitol, but at the same time, make it as secure as it needs to be but as free as we could possibly make it. It's an important element of who we are. It's an important symbol of who we are. And we need to keep that in mind with every decision we make.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no question, this permanent fencing still has to come down?
BLUNT: I think the permanent fencing should come down. I don't think it does the job. In fact, the fencing was right there when the car drove through. The question, how far back would you ever establish fencing? One of the things that General Honoré talked about weeks ago was the fact that actually fencing can create a false sense of security on a daily basis. Some kind of temporary fencing that can be put up when you need it like we always secure the Capitol before the inaugurations, two of which I've chaired, is an important element to that event, but I think it would be a mistake for fencing to be a permanent part of the Capitol. The message we send is the wrong message. Frankly, we're probably preparing for the wrong thing. The idea that what happens next at Capitol will be what happened last is almost certain not to be the case.
On the Opportunity for a Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about President Biden's infrastructure proposal. Your leader, Mitch McConnell, has already signaled Republicans are going to oppose those proposals. But polls show that investing more in roads, bridges, high speed rail, broadband is widely popular. Any worry that the GOP is on the wrong side of this issue?
BLUNT: Well, I’m actually for all of that. If the proposal was to do just that, I don't think there’d be a problem with the bipartisan group of supporters for this package. I’ve reached out to the White House a couple of times now and said, you've got an easy bipartisan win here if you'll keep this package narrowly focused on infrastructure, and then the other 70 or so percent of the package that doesn't have very much too do with infrastructure, if you want to force that in a partisan way, you can still do that. Why would you pass up the opportunity here to focus on roads, bridges, what's happening underground as well as above the ground on infrastructure, broadband, all of which wouldn’t be 40% of this package, and that would be a stretch I think to get all of those things to 40%. There's more in the package, George, for charging stations for electric vehicles, $174 billion, than there is for roads, bridges and airports and ports. When people think about infrastructure, they're thinking about roads, bridges, ports and airports. That's a very small part of what they're calling an infrastructure package that does so much more than infrastructure that -- I understand the dynamic of taking a popular title and put it, wrapping it around a bill that it's a fairly small percentage of, but it's the difference of whether you have a bipartisan, easy win or a very partisan, broad-based $2.25 trillion package.