President Joe Biden speaks during a Cabinet meeting Friday. Biden discussed the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Republicans have encouraged people to vent against their 13 colleagues who voted for the bill.
If Chicago aldermen don’t do anything about potholes, they’ll hear plenty from outraged constituents.
In the upside-down world of Washington D.C., doing something to reduce potholes across the country gets you death threats.
How much more of a theater of the absurd could you ask for?
On Nov. 5, the U.S. House passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill to fix roads and bridges, help public transit, expand internet access, build electric vehicle charging stations, protect against power outages and upgrade infrastructure in other ways. Most people agree the nation’s infrastructure badly needs fixing. President Joe Biden is scheduled to sign the bill on Monday.
But most Republican House members, who have been calling for that kind of spending for years, decided to vote against it just because President Biden wanted it. Since then, they have turned against their 13 colleagues who thought keeping bridges from falling down was a good idea.
Among their targets were Rep. Adam Kinzinger, of Illinois, and Rep. Fred Upton, of Michigan, who over his long career has done much to help the Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan. Maybe Republicans think restoring the Great Lakes is un-American because they are partly in Canada.
After receiving threats, Upton had to close two offices for a day and then beef up security.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., called the bill “socialism.” Everyone knows fixing potholes is socialism. True patriots cheerfully break their cars’ axles in gaping holes on the streets.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., called the 13 representatives who voted for the bill “traitors” and tweeted out their phone numbers. Good thing she wasn’t around when Benedict, er, Dwight Eisenhower built the interstate highways.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., thinks the bill is “garbage,” which makes her sound confused about what garbage really is. Luckily, she isn’t the one you have to call to get your trash picked up.
After the calls for average Americans to vent at the 13 Republicans, they and their staffs received vicious calls, including death threats, against themselves and family members.
The House Republican leaders who lobbied against the legislation didn’t really have policy arguments against the infrastructure bill. The top House Republican, Kevin McCarthy, could have put a quick end to the threats, but he went AWOL because he doesn’t want to alienate any Republicans in case he has a chance to be the House speaker.
Encouraging threats is shameful. Staying silent is shameful. Those who do it ought to be sent out to fill potholes.
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