We know what happens when partisan gridlock ties up the governing process making Washington mostly useful as the tool for nighttime comedy writers.
But what happened when 19 Republican Senators joined the majority, or when 13 House Republicans linked votes with their Democratic colleagues on the same congressional bill?
On Monday President Joe Biden signed a truly impressive legislative measure to address infrastructure concerns in the nation. The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill matters for more than just needed physical improvements. Let me explain.
As a result of Congress earlier this year, and correctly so, pumping over a trillion dollars into the economy due to the pandemic, it might seem massive funding amounts are commonplace in headlines. While that is true, the significance of the new legislation and the dollars pumped into states and communities should not be overlooked. The infrastructure projects will impact each and every American.
There is the essential $110 billion to be spent on roads, bridges, and other major transportation projects. With the President’s signature, $66 billion in freight and passenger rail will be updated. It will direct $39 billion into public transit systems, which will assist local urban centers, such as Madison and Sun Prairie.
This blog has commented on the absolute need for expanding broadband, especially following the educational debacle in some parts of the nation that occurred with long-distance education due to COVID. So I am very pleased with the $65 billion into expanding broadband.
The reason we can applaud these items listed here, and a plethora of others in the measure, is due to the ability of members from both parties to move forward with the primary reason they were sent to Washington. To do the work of the public.
Over the many years when voters were asked what angers them about government, the primary reason can be summed up that the failure to compromise and get bills passed that impacts ‘the folks back home’ is the one that most rankles.
The all-out ultra-partisanship has been building for decades, and this one glimmer of bipartisanship being sealed into a final package will not allow for everyone to see the light. To feel the art of the possible.
But to not stop and recognize the positive impact of working together on this measure will only allow the continuing rancor that consumes Washington to have won another day.
I can just see some conservative candidates challenge Republican incumbents who stood up and decided that government should act for better roads and bridges. How dare a member of the GOP work with the majority party! We have come to a place in our tribal politics when infrastructure is now viewed, by some, as Red or Blue. It was not so long ago that infrastructure bills were just common-sense measures where every state and congressional district proved to be lifted up and improved.
Every district will win with this funding measure too, but many of the Congressional Republicans will carp for their partisan ends. That is a sad place where our nation has landed.
For the rest of us, therefore, it is important to grasp the value of compromise and bipartisanship. We can see the fruit of such work.
And in the future, we will feel it too as we ride on smoother roads and walk through improved airports.
And so it goes.