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Pothole Mike Withdraws Support from Infrastructure Bill; Thank Goodness for North Dakota and Democrats!

Senator Mike Rounds was talking a good game about investing in South Dakota, but when the bipartisan compromise infrastructure bill came to a final vote yesterday, he caved to the forces of obstruction and joined Senator John Thune in choosing potholes and partisanship over investing in America’s future.

The infrastructure bill passed 69–30. Rounds was the sole no-show, but he issued this statement making clear his flip to nay:

For months, I have been working with my colleagues to negotiate bipartisan infrastructure legislation. I chose to actively be involved in these discussions to give South Dakota a seat at the table throughout the negotiation process. In many cases, we were successful in advancing traditional infrastructure provisions that will directly benefit South Dakota. However, as this framework progressed out of our bipartisan working groups to the Senate floor, it became evident that the legislation in its final form included several progressive mandates and federal funding clawbacks that I believe go too far.

While I cannot be there in person when the final vote is cast, as I am with my wife Jean en route to the Mayo Clinic where she is undergoing cancer treatments, my intent would be to oppose this legislation in its final form.

The goal of bipartisan negotiations is to find areas of agreement and while that may require us to seek compromise on policy, it’s important that we never compromise on principles. As we combed through the legislative text of this 2,702 page bill and the subsequent amendments, there were many sections that I believe contradict the values of the people of South Dakota who sent me to Washington. With that in mind, I could not in good conscience support this legislation in its final form [Senator Marion Michael Rounds, statement, 2021.08.10].

That’s funny: both of North Dakota’s Senators found good Republican reasons to vote for investing in roads, rail, the power grid, broadband, water systems, airports, electric vehicles, and much more for both Dakotas and the rest of the country. Senator Kevin Cramer said the infrastructure bill will put lazy bums to work:

America’s infrastructure is a worthwhile investment we can’t afford to ignore. The bill we passed today will provide over $2 billion to North Dakota for its roads, bridges, rail, broadband, carbon capture efforts, and orphaned wells cleanup projects, all while making meaningful permitting reforms and reducing bureaucratic hurdles. It pays people to work instead of giving them handouts to stay home, and it includes smart reforms so taxpayer dollars are used more efficiently and unspent COVID-19 relief funds are repurposed for productive activity [Senator Kevin Cramer, statement, 2021.08.10].

Senator John Hoeven said voting for this bill will stick a spoke in the Democrats’ bigger spending wheels:

This bipartisan infrastructure legislation provides $550 billion in new, targeted investments in our roads, bridges, airports, flood protection and other traditional infrastructure. The legislation includes responsible pay fors, including repurposing COVID relief dollars and importantly it does not raise taxes. The Senate could either advance this bipartisan legislation that does not increase taxes, or let the Democrats add more spending with tax increases to their upcoming $3.5 trillion spending spree. I also believe passing this bipartisan traditional infrastructure bill will make it harder for Democrats to pass their $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend bill, which I strongly oppose [Senator John Hoeven, statement, 2021.08.10].

Yeah, yeah, but remember: Cramer and Hoeven never found the time to move an infrastructure bill through the Senate when their party controlled it and their “President” was tooting truck horns but not much else to make real investments in our roads and bridges. The lesson here is that infrastructure and other practical work gets done when Democrats are in charge.

Senator John Thune remained consistent in his inconsistency, mumbling a few words about supporting infrastructure, although he has yet to put any vote where his mouth is on the subject:

For months, senators from both sides of the aisle engaged in good-faith negotiations to produce an infrastructure bill for the Senate to consider, and I applaud them for their tireless efforts. I have said from the very beginning that this bill should be fully paid for, and unfortunately, that is not the case. While I support investments in our nation’s infrastructure, I could not support this final product that will further increase the national debt and financially burden future generations [Senator John Thune, statement, 2021.08.10].

It’s a good thing we have North Dakota’s Senators looking out for South Dakota’s interests. Otherwise, we’d be homebrewing our own pothole patch and hauling water from our backyard wells.


  1. Guy 2021-08-11

    Mike has to be on the same page as John. It doesn’t look good if Rounds breaks with Thune who wants to be Senate Majority Leader one day. So, I ask the question again: is Thune’s rising career in the Senate more important than meeting the needs of his constituents? Right or wrong, that is how it appears to me in their latest moves.

  2. Richard Schriever 2021-08-11

    I.E., he could not compromise.

  3. Guy 2021-08-11

    Yep, Cory it is a good thing we had the help of our neighbors to the North and other Republicans to help pass the much needed Infrastructure Bill. John Thune’s record on debt spending is ONLY for his priorities: war spending and tax cuts for his rich corporation buddies, along with his eye on Mitch McConnell’s job. We need to begin looking for a new Senator who has our interests in mind because it’s very clear to me Thune could careless about the interests of his constituents.

  4. mike from iowa 2021-08-11

    Rounds is a magat liar!

    The goal of bipartisan negotiations is to find areas of agreement and while that may require us to seek compromise on policy, it’s important that we never compromise on principles.

    This surely explains why magat held senate prevented over 400 House generated bills from ever getting a debate, let alone a vote under McCTurtlefartface, Marlboro Barbie and cardboard Mike.

    Rounds thinks all South Dakotans are stoopid.

  5. John Dale 2021-08-11

    LOL .. have you read this thing? I’m getting reports that something like 24% is actual infrastructure.

    I have not read it.

    But I’m sure it’s focused and targeted and great .. just not on/for infrastructure.

    Patriots: continue helping us takeover the Republican party so we can fix our country and take our treasury back.

    That is all.

  6. Guy 2021-08-11

    Mike from Iowa, You have missed the mark on this move. This has nothing to do with Trump. Mike Rounds had to help John Thune out. Mike has to be on the same page as John. Thune wants McConnell’s job. Keep that in mind. This move is all about keeping Thune and the South Dakota Republican Party in power, which the establishment wing has moved on from Trump.

  7. Loren 2021-08-11

    Johnny Chameleon wanted the bill to “be fully paid for?” Oh, you mean just like the yuge tax cut the GQP pushed thru? That was “fully paid for?” I listened to Johnny talk about pushing the debt on to his kids and grandkids and wanted to crawl thru the TV to ‘splain to Thune my dislike of his mental contortions! Such a pretty boy that wants to claw his way to the top with good old midwestern dishonesty! !@#$%^^&*

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-08-11

    John Dale: “getting reports”? From whom, Mike Lindell?

    The infrastructure bill invests in the vital public goods we need to make the American economy work.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-08-11

    Guy, interesting thesis on the power game Rounds may be playing… but aren’t Rounds and Thune playing to the insurrectionist wing of the party?

  10. John 2021-08-11

    It’s unfortunate that the infrastructure funds do not side-step states and districts that do not support it – like commercial passenger rail side-stepped South Dakota for its lack of support and investment in itself.

    South Dakota has a do-nothing senators and representative. They did nothing on infrastructure when they were in the majority and do nothing for infrastructure now.

  11. mike from iowa 2021-08-11

    Patriots: continue helping us takeover the Republican party so we can fix our country and take our treasury back.

    drumpf put over 8 trillion in deficits on credit cards and like a typical magat you ignore fiscal irresponsibility of your magat whordes.

  12. Guy 2021-08-11

    Cory, actually I do not think they are playing to any wing, but, themselves and the establishment Republican Party. I believe they have moved on from Donald Trump and want to stall President Biden’s agenda, so, it can help them regain power and control in 2023. In order for John Thune to take over as Senate Majority Leader, he needs Biden and Chuck Schumer to fail. I’m an Independent, but, if I were a Democrat looking to unseat John Thune next year, I would be campaigning heavily on this issue of how Thune FAILED to deliver for South Dakota on the largest bill before this Congress. I would campaign as you indicated with “Pothole Mike”…and endure the term to “Pothole John” who cares more about Mitch McConnell’s job than the interests of everyday South Dakotans. Are the South Dakota Democrats seeing the MAJOR OPPORTUNITY here or are they going to miss what does not come along very often.

  13. jerry 2021-08-11

    Guy, I think you’re on to something there. “Pothole John” is a perfect moniker for this turd bird. There is not a person in South Dakota who will not get the connection. Now, who can deliver that hammer to rid us of the dead weight of trumpers like Pothole John.

  14. Donald Pay 2021-08-11

    I don’t like these big bills. There are a lot of good things in the bill, but giving money to corporations that are under investigation for bribing state officials? Sorry, I’m out. That was a prime bobble put in by Republicans and a handful of “centrist” Democrats. Most of that money will go to three corporations that have spent lots of money in the past on campaign donations. I think I would have voted against the bill, too.

  15. AnSD4Uandme 2021-08-11

    Fact: The bill passed the Senate without help from South Dakota’s U.S. senators. Vast sums for infrastructure will flow to the state because this federal highway funding is generally allotted to states under a formula, not piecemeal. No expenditure of their political capital is required for this to occur if the bill passes with a majority. This allows the senators to appear fiscally conservative, appear to thumb their nose at President Biden and placate constituents who continue to support a defeated one-time president. The senators are having having their cake (concrete cake) and eating it, too. Instructive.

  16. jerry 2021-08-11

    Many of those Federal highways go through reservations. So that will bring good jobs and better roads there as well as construction jobs close to reservations. Big bills bring big change to lift all ships.

    Sometime, when we are without resources, we will boot the ones who put us into that situation, until then Pothole Thune and EB5 Rounds will keep their places.

  17. mike from iowa 2021-08-11

    Donald Trump Built a National Debt So Big (Even Before the Pandemic) That It’ll Weigh Down the Economy for Years
    The “King of Debt” promised to reduce the national debt — then his tax cuts made it surge. Add in the pandemic, and he oversaw the third-biggest deficit increase of any president.

  18. O 2021-08-11

    John: “They did nothing on infrastructure when they were in the majority and do nothing for infrastructure now.”

    I argue that is a cause-effect relationship. The GOP makes its hay by saying “government cannot work”; when in power they make that come true. Then when out of power they obstruct anything that would also counter their anti-government narrative.

    We really need to elect people who believe in the institutions they are hoping to ascend to.

  19. STC 2021-08-11

    I’m calling President Joe Biden and asking him to NOT send any Infrastructure money to South Dakota because I want to hear “Richard Cranium” and “Richard Cranium” cry and stomp there feet just like the 2 years they are. HaHa. ! …….

  20. O 2021-08-11

    Donald, I feel your pain. Although legislation seems to get much worse when our GOP friends are involved in the “compromise,” even when Democrats go it alone, there is usually something in the sausage that stinks.

    All that speaks to the depth of the corruption of the system.

  21. mike from iowa 2021-08-11

    The fly in the ointment….. The road to Biden signing these measures isn’t certain. The first bill passed the Senate with bipartisan support, with 19 Republicans joining 50 Democrats. But the measure now moves to the House of Representatives, and progressive Democrats there have signaled that they won’t back the bipartisan measure until the Senate passes the second, more ambitious bill. With vote margins tight — Democrats can lose only a few votes in the House and effectively none in the Senate with the second bill — there’s still room for the bills to collapse before they land on Biden’s desk.

  22. Mark Anderson 2021-08-11

    STC is correct, don’t send money to the states that voted against it. They don’t want it.

  23. Loren 2021-08-11

    Why do we send these guys, Thune and Rounds, to D.C.? During the reign of terror by Agent Orange, they helped make “infrastructure week” a national punchline, got nothing done. Now that someone has come up with a plan, they vote to NOT even talk about/debate the proposal because it might allow a Democrat to look good in the eyes of the voters. OMG, call Q and ask what to do!!!! !@#$%^&*

  24. Guy 2021-08-11

    Remember: John Thune is up for reelection next year, NOT Mike Rounds. Do NOT get sidetracked by Rounds who just got reelected for another 6 years. Everyone should be FOCUSED on John Thune and what he’s doing between now and 2022. Thune would like to have everyone’s attention diverted toward his Junior Senator, Mike Rounds.

  25. V 2021-08-11

    Wasn’t Rounds a no show for the last stimulus bill?

  26. Mark Anderson 2021-08-11

    You Know Cory, I read a great rundown on people exactly like John Dale. Where they get their information and about them. The thing that made it fit exactly was their sense of self importance. How else does Dale say “I’m getting reports” when he’s simply reading bull.

  27. V 2021-08-11

    I heard the roads are so bad near Sturgis that Noem had to ride her horse in.

    I drive a car and represent about 1/4 of the vehicles on the highway. The rest are trucks, SUVs, and semis. Many have only one person, perhaps two. More semis are hauling long, wide, heavy loads with two trailers. They are racing like jet engines and I’m going the speed limit. I want them to pay more through a gas tax and weight of vehicle tax. My little Chevy does very little damage compared to those vehicles. And lets not forget winter plows and snow loads that damage the roads in town.

    The bill that passed will be a boon for S.D. The highways money for us will be close to 2 billion, along with 225 million for bridge repair, 370 million for public transportation, 100 million towards broadband, and 29 million for electric vehicle stations. (From the S.D. Standard)
    That’s basically the bill that our 2 Senators voted against.

    EVERYONE should contact Dusty Johnson and tell him to vote yes. He drives the roads a great deal and comes to our county quite often. And we need to get Thune out in 22. Even a card board cut out of Sponge Bob is better than him.

  28. El Rayo X 2021-08-11

    This bill is another Patriot Act or Wall Street bailout type bill. Over 3000 pages that no one has read and has no funding for it. Every president from every party has run a deficit. It’s not conservative, , it’s not liberal, nor Democrat or Republican. It’s math. When the French wanted their money from funding the American Revolution, George Washington had to call out the troops on his own people to collect. It was the Whisky Rebellion. As Americans, we know how to spend but we lack the desire to pay for it. You can’t cure deficit spending without addressing taxing. No one will vote for a candidate that wants to solve the problem. The choices are raise taxes, cut spending or a combination of both. That’s it. When you amortize $28 trillion over 30 years, a balanced budget and a funded government are an impossibility. You have a third generation Great Society who fall into the zero tax bracket and the 5% who can pay lobbyists to shape the tax laws so they don’t pay. In between are the W-2 short formers who float the boat.

  29. grudznick 2021-08-11

    Mr. V, are you calling my good friend Bob soft-headed with your SpongeBob comments?

  30. jerry 2021-08-11

    A balanced budget is a bad joke that always always smells like lima bean flatulence when it’s let. Clinton, not only gave us a balanced budget, but also a surplus. We are still paying for that and he has been gone since… wait, how old is Monica Lewiinsky and is she married to Cory Lewinski or are they both Lew an dowski. Anyway, a balance budget is a stinky bad joke.

  31. Porter Lansing 2021-08-11

    Outlandish, deficit spending by both political parties is the only way our government will collapse and be rebuilt without a racist, white supremacist foundation and a top heavy, capitalistic foot on the neck of workers of all colors.

    Spend Baby, Spend.

  32. Mary D 2021-08-11

    Glad you found the real story on Rounds. “The Hill” evidently picked up a story from a Rounds’ statement which says: “Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), who had previously helped advance the bipartisan bill, came out in opposition to it. Rounds missed Tuesday’s vote because of his wife’s cancer treatments.”
    It seems he looked to pick up a little pity and hide the truth at the expense of a spouse battling cancer when all the time playing politics and voting against helping South Dakota.
    Scroll down to read the statement.

  33. jerry 2021-08-11

    Ya gots to spend the money to make the money. Debt is good. Each of you that have purchased a house or a car should know that to go into debt is a good thingy as you get what you want. Or as my boy Mick would say

  34. V 2021-08-11

    Grudz, it’s just V.

    I’m calling Thune soft in the head. And I think SpongeBob could get more done.

  35. Paladn 2021-08-12

    Perhaps the senior senator from SD should empty his political “war chest” he is accumulating for his retirement and/or influencing Washington after leaving office. In all probability he could cover a great portion of the cost!

  36. Guy 2021-08-16

    $2 Trillion spent in Afghanistan and it’s going back to the Taliban. John Thune supported that funding for Afghanistan, HOWEVER, Thune has a problem with us spending that amount on fixing our own infrastructure in our own nation and helping our own people? What the heck is wrong with this guy?!?!?

  37. Guy 2021-08-24

    People: we need candidates by Labor Day.

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