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Rep. Davis: Biden, Dems Holding Infrastructure Bill ‘Hostage’

Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Sam Graves, Brian Fitzpatrick, Rodney Davis
Andrew Harnik/AP
From left, President Joe Biden, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Highways and Transit Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., and other members of the House of Representatives meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, March 4, 2021.

Central Illinois U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis says the Biden administration's bipartisan deal on infrastructure isn't really a deal at all.

The Taylorville Republican said President Joe Biden and Democrats are holding the bill hostage by trying to pair it with a bill to pay for things like childcare and family leave.

“That’s not negotiating, that’s not making a deal,” Davis said during an interview Friday with WGLT. “That’s basically saying, ‘I’m going to use an infrastructure title to get everything I want,’ which is the way we knew this was going to end.”

Republicans didn't want the so-called human infrastructure in a bill that pays for roads, bridges, internet access and other forms of traditional infrastructure.

Davis said he expects Democrats will try to pass that measure without any Republican support. The Senate would have to pass it though what’s called reconciliation because it would not have the 60 votes needed to stop a filibuster.

Jan. 6 committee

On another topic, Davis said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's plans for a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection won't provide answers to the questions he wants addressed.

Rodney Davis on Zoom
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis speaks from his congressional office via Zoom.

“It will be a partisan crap show,” declared Davis. “This is what I warned many of my colleagues would happen. Speaker Pelosi will put the most partisan people on this committee to try to make this as adversarial against Republicans as she can.”

Davis said he wants to know why Capitol Police were unprepared for the attacks and seemed to ignore threats of violence made before Jan. 6.

Previously, Senate Republicans blocked a proposal for an independent commission to investigate the attacks. Davis helped craft that plan.

End evictions

Davis said it's time for eviction moratoriums to end as the economy reopens. The CDC recently extended the federal moratorium through July.

Davis declared COVID “over” and people should get back to work.

“At a time when we have many more jobs available than those looking for work is, to me, shortsighted,” Davis said. “Let’s get people into the jobs that are available, very good-paying jobs right now and if they need the training, let’s pay for the training.”

While coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have dropped, health officials have raised concerns that COVID vaccination rates have dropped and coronavirus variants are highly contagious.

Illinois' eviction moratorium ends in August.

Voting rights bill

Davis said he fought back against the voting rights bill which the U.S. Senate blocked this week largely because of concerns about the potential for fraud through ballot harvesting.

He referenced a 2018 case in which several political operatives were accused of improperly collecting ballots in a congressional race that ultimately had to be rerun.

According to Reuters, 26 states currently allow voters to designate someone else to return their ballot.

Davis rejected claims that Democrats were seeking to counter efforts by legislatures in many Republican states to restrict voter access after the 2020 presidential election that saw record turnout.

“We get Democrat talking points that somehow Republicans are continuing to try to suppress the vote, when if that’s the case, whomever is in favor of voter suppression — and I’m certainly not — I want to meet them because they are terrible at what they do,” Davis said.

Davis said even referring to it as a voting rights bill was repeating Democrat talking points.

Davis in 2022

Davis said he "fully intends and wants" to run for re-election next year, but added uncertainty over Illinois’ political maps leaves that an open question.

“I’m going to act like I didn’t hear that question,” Davis joked, when asked how serious he is about a run for governor next year.

The five-term Republican is reportedly one of several GOP members of Congress considering a bid to try to unseat Gov. JB Pritzker in 2022.

“I’ll make decisions based on the political battlefield that’s in front of me, but we don’t yet have it at the federal level,” said Davis, who represents parts of Bloomington-Normal and parts of 14 counties in central and southwestern Illinois.

Republicans have sued over the legislative maps that Pritzker recently signed into law.

Davis slammed the governor for approving the maps drawn by legislators after Pritzker campaigned on a so-called fair map platform.

Davis said if he returns to Congress in 2023, he believes he is on a path to become chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. That also presumes Republicans win back control of the House next year.

Davis said regardless of who runs for governor next year, he expects the Republican nominee will defeat Pritzker.

“We will have a Republican in the governor’s mansion,” he predicted.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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