tv U.S. Senate Sens. Cramer Romney and Shaheen on Infrastructure Bill CSPAN August 5, 2021 10:02am-10:31am EDT
>> the senate has been working all week on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure build. so far 22 22 amendments haven considered under the legislation with more expected today. as always you can follow the senate live when it gavels in at 10:30 a.m. eastern here on c-span2. next, a look at some of the floor debate from yesterday. >> madam president. >> the junior senator from north dakota. >> thank you, madam president. i want to take some time to share some of my thoughts on this infrastructure investment jobs act where debating today and it was intended to speak specifically to the amendment senator cornyn just brought up and i just can't resist saying man, i wish you well. i think a bipartisan solution like senator cornyn and senator padilla to come up to provide flexibility to governors and communities just makes all thet
sense in the world. i'm looking forward to voting yes, and hope help we can a resolution that allows alee sticky night of my closest friends to do the same. i want to start out by thanking senator portman and snort cinema for providing support and senators and negotiated in court noted this incredible effort. i also want to thank senator capito who's managing this process along with an five public works committee chairman tom carper. the progress they've made on this issue with the administration earlier this year compared with the excellent leadership they provided the committee really exemplifies what is possible when we work together. it's allowed us to get to this point. madam president, reviving america's roads and bridges is long-standing national priority of congress anddd it's one thats taken us too long to address. we need reliable assessable infrastructure to operate locally and to compete globally.
and as it currently stands the bill before us is a well-positioned to meet that exact need. the infrastructure investment and jobs act isn't perfect, no bill evernt is, but it makes historic investment in assets that will benefit every american many, many years. i applaud the group for using the surface transportation bill that we unanimously passed out of the environment public works committee as a foundation for this bill. as the leader of republic on the transportation infrastructure subcommittee, i know how much time and effort both sides of the aisle have put in to surface transportation reauthorization. the end result reflected the good work we accomplished and that was the perfect building block for the package that is before us. as you know, madam president, i was not an original part of this bipartisan negotiating group to congressman weber, when i was approached my input i made my top priorities clear.
one, keeping the reforms in the bill permitting reforms like the one agency decision that was a real that president trump put into place, that president biden removed his first day in office. it's codified the distal for surface transportation. prioritizing dedicated funding to states into the department's of transportation as part of the traditional formula for distribution and limiting expansion of urban transit programs and including the bipartisan bill senator lujan and i introduced to clean up orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells.he i was glad to see these provisions as well as our committees drinking and wastewater infrastructure act in the bill.e i also appreciate use of unspent covid-19's relief funds to help pay for these priorities. rather than being used for paying people to not work and adding fuel to the fires inflation. this does just the opposite. i thank my colleagues are asking for my opinion and i'm even more grateful that they listen and included these provisions in our final product.
infrastructure is been a priority for congress because it's a priority for our constituents. america cannot succeed with -- without a robust infrastructure from one coast to the other and all the places like north dakota and in between. we need roads and bridges to go from farm to town and from county city, one city to city and state to state. we use ports and waterways and railroads to improve the products we produce in places that could otherwise never get to. we use rail and air to connect with family and friends and other business associates around the world. we use broadband connectivity to facilitate transactions both personalct and business. infrastructures foundational to a way of life and it's the constitutional responsibility of the federal government to facilitate interstate commerce, including the movement of goods and services along our highways
and byways and waterways and railways. rule states like north dakota know this more than most. we are landlocked and we rely on a transportation infrastructure to get what we need to go more poorly to move the products that we produce to where they need to get. for example, north dakota is a top producer of durham wheat which gets ground into flour which becomes the main aiingredient in pasta. meet ghosts of the field to a grain elevator via farm road to a milk by rail and reprocessing plant by both and then he goes anywhere from a grocery store in california to a restaurant in new york, or perhaps overseas to a market far away. and just like every other commodity we produce, it required a reliable infrastructure system that is safe and sufficient for every single mile on the journey.
the trend it needs rural america and rural america needs infrastructure. -- the united states needs. personal needs it fulfills and delivers obvious. rather than investing trillions of taxpayer dollars on government handouts to people to not work we can spend money on putting people to work. revitalizing a system that directly benefits all of us. that's what the planul before us we hope to accomplish. it's not perfect no bill is as i said and there are parts of it that i don't support but there are parts i know that some of my colleagues do not support even though their top priorities for me. our founding fathers intended for congress to collaborate and find common ground. those are functions of our system. you are not a side effect. it is easy to imagine if every founder had demanded to get everything they wanted and nothing else, well then, we would've had a king and we may not of had the system of cooperative federalism that we do today. and if enough of them believe
that doing nothing is better than getting 80 80 or 90% oft they wanted, then are more perfect union would never have gotten started and had a chance to become that. the indigo to meet in the s not an excuse for inaction. especially when it comes to addressing not just the pressing needs of the american people here at home but also protecting our standing as a country on the world stage.re we understand how important infrastructure is but so does china, so does russia, so to all of our adversaries would like to see us continue to fall behind. the chinese communist party would love to see america's roads and bridges crumble. they would be happy to let infrastructure get in the way of american production and allow for them to meet the needs of the global economy in our absence. the bill that we have before us gives us an opportunity to help stop that from happening, madam president. now i am all for working cross the aisle. that doesn't mean i will support bills that i fundamentally
disagree with like the 3.5 trillion plus spending bill that senate democrats plande to cobble together after we finish this bipartisan infrastructure bill. i oppose the democrats reckless tax-and-spend agenda and i will join each of my republican colleagues in opposing it and offering amendments to change its harmful outcomes. that bill is completely separate from the bipartisan infrastructure built that we are talking about today. they are not tied together despite what frederick there may be otherwise. both should be considered on their own merits separately. what a shame will be for democrats to offer the american public a glimpse of bipartisanship and cooperation to only do an about-face and hold it hostage while they through a massive tax increase in growth ofy the federal government adding to inflation. i hopeho my colleagues which usd to build t on this bipartisan success and resist the urge to follow the partisan winds of their political base. as it stands, madam president, infrastructure investment and jobs act would be f a significat
win for our country. i know it would be for my state. so far we have avoided actingra poison pills or degrading the process and i urge my colleagues to keep it that way.ie north dakota needs safe and sufficient infrastructure. america needs safe and sufficient infrastructure. and the world needs the united states to that state insufficient infrastructure. i urge my colleagues to keep the negative parts of the bill in perspective and to appreciate the opportunity we have today to make a difference for our constituents. i yield the floor. >> the junior senator from utah. >> thank you. the remarks of my college from north dakota have inspired me to stand enjoying him and also the fact that we are in a room of great significance and silence reigns, and i hate to -- think the topical talk about is
extremely important. i appreciate the good senators support an effort in helping craft this legislation, this bipartisan legislation to improve our infrastructure in our country. i also salute the leadership on both sides of the aisle for allowing a robust amendment process. there is no question but that there are many opportunities to improve the legislation as written, and the chance for our colleagues to offer adjustment and improvements is part of our tradition and a good part of our tradition. i would concur that we do need to upgrade our infrastructure. i think most americans who have experienced our infrastructure would come to the same i conclusion, too often our roads are need of repair. many times we have communities that are not t connected with high-speed travel opportunities from one part of the city to another. our transit in some cases is
old, slow, and does not reach communities that need it. our rail system particularly on the northeast which is an important corridor for travel is way out of date pics of people know you can try between some cities where there are trains, you can try faster than you can take the train. we have structurally deficient and dangerous bridges in some cases that need to be repaired. so i think there is general agreement on both sides of the aisle that we need to improve our infrastructure. it's known by people in this country picnic particularly brought home to us if you travel in other countries and you see what they're doing and did you compare what we are, you think boy, we used to lead the world and these things and now we are not and it's having an effect on our productivity as a nation because of the additional travel time necessary for us 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. where basically tied here and listen although the type is broken by the vice president said the democrats a majority in the senate. in-house and, of course, with the white house. given that circumstance it's possible forts the democrats to write and infrastructure built 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 is before us now. there is not a third alternative which is republicans only draft the bill. i would love that alternative. it's just not able to t us becae we don't hold the house, the senate and the white house. so we have two options. do we want our democrathe colleagues to draft the bill all by themselves or do we want to work together with republicans
and democrats and fashion something that's bipartisan? now, i know that when you work in a bipartisan basis there are some things the democrats want r to include that we republicans would rather not have there. and it's obvious that that's the case, i'm sure that's the case for the democrats as well. they will see things that we've included that they would just as soon not have there. and it's very easy for either side or both sides rather to point out the things in the bipartisan bill that they don't like. and to attack it as not being fully informative with reviews, but that's the nature of two parties workingor together. 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. nobody's keeping people from working together if they want to come up with a better piece of legislation. like, i would be anxious to see
what it is but in order to get a bill passed it must be acceptable to democrats and republicans. and that's in unless in my party were all together majority of house and white house which we don't have at this stage. so again the alternative is if you can come up with a better bipartisan bill, do it. two, amended as you feel appropriate, to think there good amendments come that 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, 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 or i think it would be good for every state. we will get an upgrade, a badly needed upgrade in infrastructure of this country. again, isn't ideal, perfect?pe far from it is a big step forward and one heck of a huge step of advantage relative o to having one party alone write a piece of legislation. i think it's fair to say it democrats alone biting infrastructure bill, my state of utah will not be real happy by the time that's done. thank you, madam president. >> madam president? >> the senior senator from new hampshire. >> is the sin the senatm call? >> it is not. >> thank you. madam president, i'm here on the
floor today to speak in support of the infrastructure investment and jobs act which is the bipartisan legislation that is before the chamber. that will make historic investment in our nation's core infrastructure, and the police to follow my colleague and friend from utah, senator romney, who was one of those who i worked with to negotiate this package. this is historic legislation that provides $550 $550 bin new federal investments over the next five years to respond to the needs that are facing our country. this bill will rebuild crumbling roads and bridges and tunnels across the country. it will provide clean drinking water in american-owned and address harmful contaminants. it will increase connectivity in our communities tohe bring broadband to even the most world parts of our country. it will prioritize sustainable solutions to improve our infrastructure systems for future generations, and it will combat climate change by making
the monumental investment in our clean energy grid and electric vehicle infrastructure that we must make. now, this bill was a long time in the making, as i'm sure my colleague from utah would agree. over the past three months there have been many late nights, early mornings, countless conversations about how to make the best use of this opportunity to invest in ourtu nation's infrastructure. i very much appreciate the continued good faith negotiations from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and the white house, and the leadership that senator kyrsten sinema and rob portman to deliver this bipartisan infrastructure agreement. i also appreciate the work of the chairs and ranking members of relevant senate committees who laid the foundation for so much of the bipartisan work that has gone into this bill. as well as the leadership of both parties for giving us the space and time to get this
agreement to the floor. now, i could spend all day talking about the many aspects of this legislation thatou meaningfully invest in our communities and in our country. today i want to specifically talk about two key areas that i worked on. both of these issues, water and broadband, speak to the critical needs of new hampshire and across the country. water and wastewater infrastructure is one of the major investments we make in this bill, $55 billion invested in this area. now, no parent should have to worry about the safety of their families water when they turn on the tap. but, unfortunately, as most of us know this is not the case for too many americans because compromised water supplies due in part to our rent and water infrastructure is an issue across this country and in some places in new hampshire.
this this is a problem for ds before the pandemic yet, but looking at the crisis like covid-19 has illustrated just a basic and essential clean and safe drinking water is our communities. writing this wrong starts with investing in our water systems which have been severely underfunded for too long. according to the environmental protection agency, drinking water utilities will need to invest $472.6 billion over the next 20 years in order to provide safe and sufficient drinking water to the american public. fortunately with a big chunk of that as a down payment in this proposal. and earlier this year the senate passed overwhelmingly on a bipartisan vote the drinking water and wastewater infrastructure act. that bill makes historic investment in our water ouinfrastructure through
authorization, and in addition to putting significant funding towards that effort the bipartisan infrastructure package for us includes $15 billion to replace med service lines which is a huge public health priority and it's an issue that has long plagued communities across this country. another real public healths concern that's addressed in this bill is the presence of pfas in a water supplies. cleaning up contaminated sites and understanding the full scope of the health implications associate with these chemicals is critical for so many affected by pfas in their water. as i've heard again and again new hampshire families, discovering that you been drinking contaminated water can produce a range of emotions from anger and fear a to guilt. that's what i heard from so many parents who had children at the
former air force base where they were in childcare and parents thought they were safe in those childcare centers, but they found out that theyho been drinking water contaminated with pfas. that contamination at the former air force base force the city of portsmouth to shop three drinking water wells in 2014. the contamination was created by the use of firefighting foam by the air force when it was an air force base. one of those wells that was shut down, that even while, has just come back online this week after seven years. it was inoperable for seven years. pfas contamination surrounding the manufacturing plant in merrimack in new hampshire and there's around the landfill superfund site create an ongoing worry for granite state families
also because of pfas contamination. so you can imagine what those parents felt like when they found out their children how to elevate a level of pfas in their bloodstream, and it didn't really understand what that meant. i remember talking t to one motr who told the ship taken her daughter to dartmouth hitchcock medical center for her health exam, and she talked to the doctor about the elevated levels of pfas in her blood and she said the doctor did know what i was talking about. because this is an emerging contaminant. but thanks to the work of so many of those affected, people like andrea nay in portsmouth who helped found a group called testing for pease and folks were involved with a citizen for clean water, they have raised awareness and work to find solutions to clean up our drinking water. we owe it to them, to all those
families affected by pfas and contaminated water supplies, a serious commitment to stop this problem where it starts and to give them the peace of mind that they so deserve. the comprehensive measures to address our water infrastructure that are contained in this historic bill will help do just that. now, water infrastructure is a serious issue that new hampshire shares with many other states throughout the country. like water, another shared issue is access to broadband, i high-speed internet service. the challenges of the covid-19 twindemic highlighted the challenge of not having enough access to clean water, highlighted just how important it is for our communities to fast and reliable access to the internet. whether we like it or not we live in a digital world.
we all rely on that digital world more than ever during the covid crisis so that our kids could go to school, so our grandparents and her families could keep their medical appointments, so our businesses could stay afloat. of course even before the pandemic started, the digital divide created an equity issue that deepened disparities in education, health and business. if you live in a community in northern new hampshire, how can community if you don't have access to high-speed internet? the business can't open a website and tell people what they do. just last month i met with representatives from several towns in southwestern new hampshire, another part of our state, where they been struggling to bring high-speed internet service to their residence. now, this is r their real nature of these towns and others like them are unable to attract a provider to workhe with them. about a quarter of those that
live in these towns are considered unserved and far more are underserved. at that session i talk to a woman named molly miller. she is a telecommunications committee member andw hancock nw hampshire town with about 1600 residents. she talked about the challenges that her family had experienced trying to work and do school from home during the pandemic. she said everyone had to disconnect while her youngest son was participating in college classes. and she shared a storysh about r son. she said he was unable to turn in his final exam from one of his courses because the file was too large, he couldn't print it because it didn't have enough speed, download speed in their house. by the time he made it to the library to print out the file, it was too late. his exam was not accepted. that's just the kind of everyday
challenge that families who don't have access to high-speed internet face. and broadband access isn't a partisan priority. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle recognize the need for significant investment to ensure that all of our workers, our students, our families are able to connect to the critical resources that are provided by the internet. this infrastructure built commit $65 billion to bring high-speed internet to communities in new hampshire, and all across the country. madam president, these bold investments are what we need to create jobs, to enhance the safety of our infrastructure network, and to improve this nation's competitiveness. now, had i i written the applicable before us on my own, i'm sure like everyone in this chamber, it would have included different priorities than what is before us in some cases. but as we know that's not how
the give-and-take of negotiations work. it's not have compromise works. you give and you get there and the fact is that new hampshire and the united states are going to get a whole lot in this infrastructure package. we also know that legislation that has broad bipartisan support stands a better chance at lasting longer without r threats being repealed or reversed. president biden supports this package and we have received strong support across the aisleh to the procedural vote that we have had so far. i'm proud to have worked with my colleagues to help craft this bipartisan bill, and over the coming days i know that i will work with even more people in this chamber as we try and do the legislation through the senate. thank you. >> the use senate returns this morning to continue work on e $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill providing funding over several years for road and bridge projects, public transit, rail, water projects, airports,
broadband internet, and electric vehicle charging stations. votes are expected throughout the day. lawmakers will work on the nomination of the u.s. court of appeals judge for the second circuit. live now to the floor of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal spirit, our counselor and guide, give our lawmakers the faith to believe in the ultimate trium o
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