DALLAS — Now that Congress has finally passed the infrastructure bill, the White House estimates Texas will receive around $35 billion over the next five years for improvements to roads, bridges, airports, broadband, ports, pipes and other projects.
Despite that, not one Texas Republican voted in favor of the legislation. Republican congresswoman Beth Van Duyne says she voted no because of the cost, estimated to be $1.2 trillion.
“The amount of money, the amount of debt, the amount of regulations that we’re adding without an ability to be able to pay it back was one of the reasons I was very concerned about it,” the congresswoman said on Inside Texas Politics.
The Republican is also keeping her eyes on $100 million worth of equipment along the Texas-Mexico border. The equipment and supplies would have been used to extend the border wall.
But since former President Donald Trump lost in 2020, it’s just sitting there unused. Van Duyne authored a bill that would turn it all over to Texas.
“Right now, we’re looking at over $100 million worth of materials that have been left there. We’re spending over $2, $3 million a day to be able to babysit that material. It’s turning to rust. It’s doing no good. Allow Texas to have that to be able to build the wall,” she said.
The legislation would also allow this transfer of equipment in Arizona and New Mexico. It was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security.
The North Texas lawmaker is also working on the “Valor Earned, Not Stolen Act” which would increase the penalty for people who falsify their service records. She says her office read about the problem and received some calls on it.
“We started seeing there were examples of people who were pretending that they had gotten accommodations in order to get government funding, in order to get government grants,” she said. “And for other people who haven’t earned it to be able to just lie about their record and be able to get those resources from others that truly deserve it, we thought was an injustice and we wanted to make sure we were focusing on that.”
Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne: Representative Beth Van Duyne | (house.gov)
H.R. 5810: H.R.5810 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): To authorize the transfer to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas of certain materials for the construction of the border wall, and for other purposes. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
White House Statement/Fact Sheet on infrastructure bill: FACT SHEET: Historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal | The White House