We’ve discussed previously how much good President Biden’s proposed infrastructure investments will do for South Dakota‘s economic needs and health needs. But our senior Senator, John Thune, continues to put partisan posturing ahead of serving this state. In a procedural vote held shortly after Senators and the White House announced a deal, Senator Thune refused to join Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and sixteen other Republicans in moving the process forward.
Senator Thune voted no on the procedural vote despite rumbling vaguely that he wants to encourage the process:
The No. 2 Senate GOP leader, John Thune of South Dakota, told reporters that Republicans still wanted to see the final details, but he was open to voting for the bill.
“I want to encourage this because I think it’s good to have a bipartisan exercise around here once in a while on something that matters, and it’s important to people in the country,” Thune said. He thought leaders would work on a deal to consider amendments so both sides could try to add elements [Deirdre Walsh, “Senate Advances Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal,” NPR, 2021.07.28].
Senator Rounds has been involved in the negotiations with the White House, and last month he “backed the framework last month,” but we don’t know where Rounds stands now, as he somehow missed last night’s vote.
Every Democrat and independent in the Senate—Charles Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Tammy Duckworth, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Ron Wyden, Tim Kaine, Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock, Elizabeth Warren…—is willing right now to spend money on South Dakota’s infrastructure. So are both of North Dakota’s Republican Senators, Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven. So are Senators Roy Blunt, Richard Burr, and Rob Portman, who have announced they are retiring at the end of their terms in 2022. So are Senators Mike Crapo, Charles Grassley, Lisa Murkowski, and Todd Young, who with Hoeven face re-election next year yet, unlike Thune, are more interested in making smart long-term investments in America’s strength than in appeasing an extremist anti-American base.
I’d like to think Thune would face more voter wrath for standing between us and federal dollars for roads, bridges, water pipes, broadband, and other vital infrastructure. I’d like to think a smart Democrat could win a majority by saying at rallies, “You know those roads you used to get here? John Thune voted against that pavement. You know that water you drank this morning? John Thune voted against the pipes that got it to your tap. You know that dead spot where you can’t get signal on your phone on the way to work? John Thune voted to leave that spot dead.” But evidently Senator Thune thinks he faces a greater threat to keeping his cushy D.C. job from the radicals of his own party who favor anarchy and poverty than from regular South Dakotans who believe in smart government and 21st-century infrastructure.