New York lawmakers cross over on infrastructure bill

There wasn’t a lot of bipartisanship when the U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday night to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, but New York’s congressional delegation stood out on both sides as Congress sent the $1.2 trillion spending bill to President Biden.

The 228-206 vote included 13 Republican lawmakers joining the Democratic majority, while six Democrats voted against the bill. Four of New York’s eight Republican House members were among the baker’s dozen voting yes, while New York U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman joined other progressive Democrats in opposing the plan.

In an hourlong video chat Saturday on Instagram, Ocasio-Cortez said she supported the Biden Administration’s plans regarding infrastructure but did not like the political maneuvering that took place as the infrastructure bill was essentially pared away from the Build Back Better Act, the reconciliation bill that includes several social initiatives, including universal preschool and clean energy measures.

In addition, the two-term congresswoman from the Bronx added she had concerns about how the new infrastructure investments affected emissions.

“I cannot vote to increase our emissions without a commitment to draw them down, and a lot of the people making these decisions aren’t going to be here in 2050 and in 2060,” she said. “And we are.”

With Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the progressive group known as “The Squad” voting against the bill, it gave freshman U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis an opening.

The Staten Island Republican told Axios  her vote for the bill was also a vote against her fellow New York City representative. She added the Build Back Better bill, now no longer a “hostage,” will get revised.

“I weakened their hand,” she said. “They have no leverage now.”

Other New York GOP lawmakers joining Malliotakis on Friday were U.S. Reps. John Katko, Andrew Garbarino and Tom Reed.

According to a release Sunday from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, the infrastructure bill provides billions of dollars for the state. That includes a portion of a $6 billion allocation to Amtrak for improvements to the Northeast Corridor that will go toward the Gateway Tunnel rail expansion project under the Hudson River.

Airports across the state will receive more than $937 million for improvements, with John F. Kennedy International Airport receiving $294.7 million and LaGuardia Airport getting $150 million.

New York will also be able to receive funding from $42.5 billion set aside for states to deploy broadband internet to unserved and underserved areas.

“Whether it’s our mass transit system, critical bridges or highway repairs, fixing our subway tunnels, safety improvements at our airports, bridging the digital divide, or ensuring clean drinking water for all, this bill will rebuild and revive the Empire State’s infrastructure and create good-paying jobs for communities that need it most,” Schumer said in a statement.

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