Congressman Dusty Johnson’s commitment to his “Problem Solvers” caucus is about as strong as the 17.7% of South Dakota bridges that are ready to collapse. Rather than voting for the infrastructure bill which he professes to like, he’s willing to vote against billions in long-term investment in South Dakota just because he doesn’t like how Nancy Pelosi manages the House:
As Democrats charge ahead with writing their massive $3.5 trillion spending bill, which they aim to pass on a party-line vote through budget reconciliation, at least one moderate Republican is warning the bipartisan infrastructure bill may lose GOP votes because it’s too intertwined with the reconciliation bill.
“I think Nancy Pelosi did this whole process a real disservice by linking them together so strongly and she continues to do that. And that makes it very difficult to bring Republicans to the party,” Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC), told Fox News Wednesday. “I think for honest, forthright fiscal conservatives, it’s hard to get excited about the trillion dollar deal if in any way it makes it more likely that the three-and-a-half trillion dollar deal passes” [Tyler Olson, “Republicans May Abandon Infrastructure Bill Because Pelosi ‘Linked’ It with Reconciliation: GOP Rep. Johnson,” Fox “News”, 2021.09.16].
Johnson also seems to think it appropriate that, while his party’s base produces real domestic terrorists, he brand as “terrorists” Representatives on the other side of the aisle pushing for more investment in America:
Asked whether he thinks the House will actually vote on the infrastructure bill by the Sept. 27 nonbinding deadline Pelosi, D-Calif., set as a result of negotiations with moderate Democrats, Johnson said it’s extremely unclear whether that’s possible.
“I think the path forward looks incredibly murky. I wouldn’t even try to hazard a guess,” Johnson said. “What we know is that the ‘Squad,’ these folks are legislative terrorists, they love to take hostages” [Olson, 2021.09.16].
Dusty, Dusty, Dusty. Such language is unbecoming a professed “Problem Solver.” Progressive Democrats threatening to vote against the infrastructure bill if it isn’t tied to the larger reconciliation package are no more “terrorists” than you and other conservative Republicans threatening to vote against the infrastructure bill if it is tied to the larger reconciliation package. If we accept your language, you and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are both holding infrastructure hostage to achieve your political goals (see? I told you back in January that Dusty and Alexandria would end up on the same team!)
And you and Ocasio-Cortez would both be wrong to vote against this great investment in infrastructure. New York City will enjoy better quality of life and economic growth from infrastructure improvements as surely as South Dakota will. Arielle Zionts reminds us that South Dakota has dams, bridges, and waterworks that need fixing. New Yorkers and South Dakotans alike will all suffer longer and more directly from a failure to invest in infrastructure than we will from whatever partisan angst you and AOC may suffer from voting for a bill that gives your perceived political opponents (read: fellow Americans) a fleeting win.
Solve the problem: vote yes on the infrastructure bill!