Rounds a ‘no’ on infrastructure bill, cites “progressive mandates”

Senator Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) had been an instrumental part of negotiating the bill, but has decided to abandon it as it nears a final vote in the Senate.
Gray DC Bureau: Senate impeachment trial begins-Sen. Mike Rounds
Gray DC Bureau: Senate impeachment trial begins-Sen. Mike Rounds
Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 7:19 AM MDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - Senator Mike Rounds (R- South Dakota) has decided to drop his support for an infrastructure bill that he had championed, and helped negotiate.

“For months, I have been working with my colleagues to negotiate bipartisan infrastructure legislation,” Rounds said. “I chose to actively be involved in these discussions to give South Dakota a seat at the table throughout the negotiation process. In many cases, we were successful in advancing traditional infrastructure provisions that will directly benefit South Dakota. However, as this framework progressed out of our bipartisan working groups to the Senate floor, it became evident that the legislation in its final form included several progressive mandates and federal funding claw backs that I believe go too far.

Rounds said that while he opposed the bill, he would not be in Washington to vote no, as he would be attending cancer treatment with his wife Jean.

“The goal of bipartisan negotiations is to find areas of agreement and while that may require us to seek compromise on policy, it’s important that we never compromise on principles. As we combed through the legislative text of this 2,702 page bill and the subsequent amendments, there were many sections that I believe contradict the values of the people of South Dakota who sent me to Washington. With that in mind, I could not in good conscience support this legislation in its final form.”

The bill has been championed by advocates as a piece of bipartisan legislation that would help to make much needed improvements to key pieces of infrastructure across the country. However, opponents have argued that the price tag on the bill is too high, and that there are many parts of the bill that do not have to do with infrastructure.

Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) has been skeptical of the bill since negotiations began, and has already committed to voting against it.

The bill is nearing a final vote in the Senate, and will then move on to the U.S. House of Representatives.