Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), who broke rank alongside 12 of his colleagues to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill last week, decried the politicization of his support for the bill from fellow Republicans.
During an interview with WV MetroNews’ “Talkline” on Wednesday, McKinley defended his vote to pass the bipartisan bill, expressing disbelief over the majority of his colleagues’ votes against the measure —even as they claim to support infrastructure.
“The first time that we have a chance to vote on infrastructure in approximately 12 years, 15 years, we’re going to vote no? All because of politics?” McKinley said. “Let’s stop this nonsense. That’s my position.”
McKinley went onto jab fellow Republicans in his home state, Reps. Alex Mooney and Carol Miller (R-WV), for their opposition to BIF.
“I don’t know what motivated them. I don’t know what the infrastructure was like in Maryland,” McKinley said, referring back to Mooney’s term as a state legislator in Maryland. McKinley is set to face off against Mooney during next year’s midterms, after West Virginia lost a seat in reapportionment last year.
McKinley was also unfazed by talk of House Republicans who supported BIF losing their committee assignments. Yesterday, Punchbowl News reported that GOP leadership is anticipating a push by rank-and-file lawmakers to strip committee assignments from members who supported bipartisan bill.
“Let them feel that way. I don’t think that ultimately is going to come. They’re upset but they don’t understand,” McKinley said.
McKinley’s remarks come as Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) — who was also among the handful of Republicans who supported BIF — revealed he received death threats following his vote. And one of his colleagues might’ve helped spur the threats along. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) tweeted shortly after BIF’s passage last week a list of the names and phone numbers of the House Republicans who backed the bill. Upton has lamented the “political football” that ensued over BIF, with the majority of House Republicans voting against it despite claiming that they’re supportive of infrastructure legislation.
Taking a cue from the House Republicans who have turned against their 13 colleagues who voted for BIF, former President Trump also went after GOPers who dared to vote for the infrastructure legislation — a feat he couldn’t get off of the ground during his presidency. Trump unsurprisingly continued his crusade against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who was among the 19 GOP senators who helped pass BIF earlier this year.
“Why is it that Old Crow Mitch McConnell voted for a terrible Democrat Socialist Infrastructure Plan, and induced others in his Party to do likewise, when he was incapable of getting a great Infrastructure Plan wanting to be put forward by me and the Republican Party?” Trump said in a statement on Tuesday.
The irony here speaks for itself. It was a running joke during the Trump administration: every week was infrastructure week. Although Trump attacked McConnell this week for not getting an infrastructure bill passed when Republicans held both the White House and Congress, Trump ultimately got in his own way on infrastructure legislation — despite calling for a $2 trillion infrastructure plan at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year.
In May 2019, Trump stormed out of a meeting with then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). At the time, he was angry with Democrats over the Russia probe and ongoing calls for his impeachment.
Trump told reporters during a press conference at the White House Rose Garden afterward that he wouldn’t work with Congress “under these circumstances.”
“I walked into the room and I told Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure’ … but we can’t do it under these circumstances,” Trump told reporters.