Are we returning to normal?

By Gordon Hill

When I began writing this, the House was preparing to vote on the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure bill which many pundits predicted would fail due to opposition by some Democrats. Supporting its passage, I was not hopeful.

To my delight, the six Democrats who voted against it were neutralized by 13 Republicans who voted Aye, passing it 228-205. Could it be that the House is on a path toward a more normal bipartisan support for beneficial legislation? It’s too soon to tell, but we can hope.

The bill includes $550 billion of new infrastructure over five years: bridges, roads, internet broadband, water and energy, essential for every American irrespective of their political identity. How could anyone vote against that, unless they don’t drive, use the internet, drink water or use electricity? Certainly not a large number.

The significance I see is that some Democrats and Republicans voted for and against the measure, a healthier result than political lockstep. While every state will benefit from each measure, the more rural ones, like Missouri, may gain a significant advantage from the broadband provision. Some rural users of the internet and broadcast cable channels acquire their signal from a satellite service which can be so narrow in bandwidth that they cannot use both internet and TV concurrently. Limiting.

The reasons more Republicans voted “aye” than Democrats “nay” is less important than that it passed and now is headed to the White House for President Biden’s signature. The fact that there was not unanimity from either side is encouraging, a more accurate representation of how Americans choose from alternatives.

Missouri House members, however, voted nay 7-1 including all six Republicans and one Democrat which tells us where they stand on the issue. I wonder how representative this is of how Missourians see it. It does not reflect mine. I favor improving road, bridges, internet access, water and energy sources even when it increases the national debt somewhat because these resources are beneficial, especially in smaller communities and rural areas, two of Missouri’s positive qualities. Why would any Missouri representative oppose that?

For me, bipartisan support may be more important than a legislation’s anticipated effect. The final bill was the result of countless negotiations and compromises which is how success occurs. No one got all they wanted, but enough saw the final bill as acceptable to vote Aye. It is time to move on to what comes next and there is plenty to consider: voting rights, House redistricting, affordable child care, improved healthcare, pharmaceutical costs, free junior college and more. Each one is beneficial to every American no matter their political views. The issue is which ones and how much? Deciding that is how America functions at its best. If you are concerned, it may be time to increase communications with our representatives.

That’s how I see it and I’m sticking to it… until I change which I have before and shall again. Until next time, here’s wishing you all the best in your quest for success.