Art Isn't Infrastructure

July 05, 2021

Dear Friend,

This week, Speaker Pelosi rammed through her $715 billion fake “infrastructure” bill. Throughout the debate, we heard how “transformative” this bill is. I’d agree with that as it completely upends the definition of infrastructure.

It redefines infrastructure to include art, by repealing longstanding bipartisan protections that keep our tax dollars from funding paintings, sculptures, and nonfunctional landscaping. I don’t care if communities want to spend their local tax dollars on frescos and chandeliers, but Missourians shouldn’t be footing the bill for artwork in subway stations in New York City. We need those dollars to fix our roads and bridges.

Ironically, Pelosi chose to name her bill the “INVEST in America” Act. That’s rich, given that her bill would send our tax dollars overseas to China where they use slave labor to mine the rare earth minerals needed to meet her Green New Deal mandates. She gutted language that would have kept these dollars from flowing to China and used that money to support high-paying jobs here in America instead.

Perhaps the most concerning part of her bill though is that she didn’t even bother coming up for a way to pay for it. This isn’t just bad policy; it’s going to have real impacts on working Americans. $715 billion in deficit spending right now is only going to further fuel inflation. Right now, we’re seeing the worst inflation since 2008. The last thing working families need is for the cost of everything from gasoline to groceries to go through the roof. We can’t afford it.

The Highway Trust Fund’s roads and bridges account will be another casualty of this deficit spending plan. Current projections suggest the Speaker’s bill would bankrupt that account in just 2 years—TWO YEARS! This is one of the only remaining true trust funds left in the federal government. States and localities have relied on it for more than 60 years to make critical repairs to fix our roads and bridges.

While I’d agree this bill is “transformative” in how it redefines what infrastructure is, I have to strongly disagree with those that describe it as “forward-looking.” This bill is just the opposite. It mortgages our children’s future just to score a few cheap political points.

Instead of selling out American workers to China to meet the goals of the Green New Deal, we should be working on real bipartisan solutions to fix America’s infrastructure. That’s exactly what I proposed in my STARTER Act 2.0 earlier this year and it’s what I’m going to keep fighting for here in Washington.


Sam Graves