A month ago U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, who represents the 6th District encompassing Kalamazoo and a large swath of Southwest Michigan, voted for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. After that, a flood of phone calls rushed into Upton’s office — more than 1,000 in a matter of days. There were death threats and threats to Upton’s family and staff — a whirlwind of profanity-laced tirades rooted in a political environment more toxic than anything Upton said he’s seen in his 35 years in Congress.
The voicemail came after U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) called the 13 Republican House members who voted for the infrastructure bill “traitors” and “American job and energy killers” in a tweet. In another tweet, Greene posted the phone numbers of the 13 Republicans who voted in favor of the legislation.
President Joe Biden’s sprawling social spending and climate package has been slimmed down into a still-massive $1.75 trillion plan that he and top congressional Democrats are attempting to wrestle through after months of negotiations.
WSV’s Dan Robinson lays out an argument as to why the United States must “take a moral approach to infrastructure, and design it with justice and resiliency in mind.”
For years, activists have been pushing for government recognition of what’s known as environmental justice, the broad movement to provide restitution to communities that have suffered disproportionate harm. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that passed the Senate earlier this month fell short of their wishes, advocates say. But Congress gets another chance in the $3.5 trillion budget and spending plan lawmakers are now writing.
As the Senate gears up to pass a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, Michigan’s senators say it would be a big shot in the arm for Great Lakes restoration efforts, broadband access, roads, bridges, highways and electric vehicle expansion.
Charles Morris writes, “Our faith teaches us to look out for one another to address the crises before us, and as our nation continues to recover, we must now turn our attention to the climate crisis and environmental justice. A bold investment in clean energy infrastructure currently being discussed in Washington would do just that. This is an opportunity to invest in a clean energy future while addressing the injustices of the past.”
Senate Democrats’ attempt to start debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan was blocked by Republicans on a party-line vote Wednesday, as lawmakers hustle to wrap up negotiations over drafting that legislation. In the 49-51 test vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) switched his vote to “no,” a procedural move that allows him to bring the motion again later.
American Forests, a Washington, D.C.-based conservation nonprofit, released a nationwide analysis last month showing that low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have significantly less tree canopy. Those areas also are more likely to suffer from the urban heat island effect caused by a lack of shade and an abundance of heat-absorbing asphalt. Heat islands can be as much as 10 degrees hotter than surrounding neighborhoods.
U.S. House Democrats’ highway funding bill is poised to include roughly three out of five transportation projects submitted by members, as legislators vie for their share of federal dollars through the resurrected congressional earmarks process. Michigan is poised to receive $210 million spread over 68 projects throughout the state.
The governors of Michigan and Maryland, as well as the mayor of Denver, Colo., debated who gets to control who should oversee new federal transportation money — states or city governments — and how it should be used at a mostly cordial hearing Wednesday with members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg offered an unapologetic defense of President Joe Biden’s vision for improved transportation and greenhouse gas reductions during a Senate hearing to consider Buttigieg’s nomination for U.S. transportation secretary on Thursday.