U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib said she joined five other progressive Democrats to reject the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package because it was not voted on alongside the Build Back Better Act, a funding bill for a variety of social programs and initiatives to fight climate change.
Thirteen Republicans joined moderate Democrats to pass the legislation — a key piece of President Joe Biden’s agenda — which will fund improvements for roads, bridges, transportation systems, internet access, and the power grid.
Tlaib told Michigan Radio’s Stateside
on Monday that the infrastructure package “opened the doors for more pollution versus making sure that Build Back Better helped address those. And that’s why they belong together, and they should have moved together.”
She added, "It forces these communities to choose between safe roads and bridges and clean air to breathe, and trading infrastructure dollars for cuts to environmental protection and more fossil fuel subsidies up to $25 billion isn't a deal my community should ever have to face.”
Tlaib’s district includes some of the most environmentally contaminated areas of the state, including Michigan’s most toxic ZIP code
If Build Back Better (BBB) was voted on at the same time as the infrastructure package, Tlaib said it would have had more leverage to pass.
"I really believe that the deal was broken in moving both bills together, which now creates an uncertain future for Build Back Better," she said. “I kept my word and that I am going to support the Biden agenda. But it has to be the full Biden agenda, and then making sure we don't leave anyone behind.”
Other Democrats who opposed the infrastructure package were Jamaal Bowman of New York, Cori Bush of Missouri, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
on Sunday, Tlaib said her constituents need a better social safety net.
“Giving my residents access to internet is important, but it won't help my residents breathe clean air, drink clean water, put a roof over their head, help care for their children, pay for paid leave or their expensive prescription drugs,” she wrote. “Now we risk losing child care, real climate solutions, paid leave, reducing the costs of prescription drugs, PRO Act (labor protections) provisions, funding for housing, covering hearings aids and fully funding the complete removal of lead service lines.”
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