With the echolocation of a bat, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick has picked his way through the two parts of President Biden’s bills, voting yes first for the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure bill after midnight on Friday, November 5.
Note, that was safely after the GOP had galloped to the polls on November 2. And it was for hard-hat projects: bull dozers and cranes, big-deal things. You can see where the money is going, eventually, after years of permits and design and planning.
Pennsylvania is scheduled to get federal money of $11.3 billion for highway apportioned programs and $1.6 billion for bridge fixes over five years; state money up to $2.8 billion for public transport. $100 million for broadband coverage and more than $1 billion to improve drinking water.
Even a blind bat could find a way to vote yes on that one.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Fitzpatrick has seen the light on the other part of President Biden’s proposal to stimulate the economy with his Build Back Better bill, the social side of his plan. Fitzpatrick says he will vote NO on that bill “as it now stands.”
What is the Build Back Better Bill? It’s for things you can’t see without looking hard: climate change, pre-K education, child tax credits, childcare, income equality. It means money for social programs, and a lot of people have a conviction that people who work in social services or in government aren’t really working. Not like the people who lean on shovels.
Note this. In voting on the Infrastructure Bill, Fitzpatrick wasn’t leading the charge of the 13 Republicans who sided with the Democrats. New York Rep. John Katko, R, was calling the shots and he got blowback from his constituents. Fred Upton (R- Mich) received 1,000 angry calls. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said he’d received death threats.
The most worry Fitzpatrick had was constituents concerned he had voted for the social side of the bill.
“It shouldn’t matter who benefits politically” is Fitzpatrick’s credo about voting. But it does matter to him. He has calibrated himself perfectly to suit his Bucks and Montgomery County voters, unless voters want a Representative who isn’t playing one side against the other, while claiming it isn’t politics.