In today’s hyper-partisan political climate, passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill is no small feat. Sadly, the wants and needs of the average American get swept under the rug when politicians are trying to score political points with their base. However, the bipartisan infrastructure bill is what it looks like when lawmakers work for the people they represent, rather than their party, to invest in our communities. However, there are still some who choose to obstruct and distract from the issues that directly impact Iowans. Instead of voting to invest in Iowa’s infrastructure, my representative chose division and allyship with her party over the people in her district.
What’s truly mind-boggling is Rep Ashley Hinson’s very vocal criticism of the bipartisan infrastructure bill calling it wasteful spending, but her ardent, unwavering support for the former president’s ill-fated ill-conceived border wall. When campaigning for president, Trump declared the wall would cost $8 billion, $12 billion tops and that Mexico would pay for it. They didn’t. We the taxpayers were left to foot the bill. The wall was mired with complications and never finished, and in February 2020, the Department of Homeland Security estimated the cost for the wall at $21.6 billion. That’s well over double the projected amount. In some parts of Texas, the wall was costing an estimated $27 million per mile. Not only was the cost grossly underestimated, but to cover the difference, the Trump administration bypassed Congress and wrongly transferred $2.5 billion from military construction projects to fund the border wall. How does a border wall directly impact Iowans? It doesn’t. It doesn’t make Iowa more safe. There is no evidence to support undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a higher rate than citizens, in fact, research shows the opposite.
It’s ironic that Hinson’s idea of necessary infrastructure is a border wall that would not directly benefit Iowans nor improve our day-to-day life. It’s inaccurate that Hinson attributes the bill to Pelosi; it was a bipartisan bill supported by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. This legislation has broad support from organizations like the Iowa Soybean Association, the Iowa Business Council, and a number of city Chambers of Commerce. It’s unfortunate for Iowans that Ashley Hinson voted against $5 billion for Iowa’s infrastructure including money to repair roads and bridges, expand broadband, and update infrastructure for clean drinking water. The bill provides 750,000 new, good-paying jobs to Iowans. What Hinson calls a socialist spending spree, is a necessary investment in our aging infrastructure, in our communities, and in the future of Iowa.
In a time when we need our elected leaders to have the moral courage to step up and vote in the best interest of their constituents and not just tow the party line, it is glaringly obvious that Rep Ashley Hinson would rather both literally and figuratively build walls than bridges.