CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Two critical bills to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure appear stalled in Congress.
One of the bills would spend a trillion dollars upgrading American roads, bridges and highways, commonly referred to as physical infrastructure. The second bill would provide nearly two trillion dollars for child care assistance, pre-kindergarten, and home health care for seniors, known as social infrastructure. Some critics call both bills too expensive.
“We are opposed to it because it’s going to drive inflation, it’s going to raise taxes on the middle class and we’re encouraging West Virginians to reach out to Senator Manchin and encourage him to have the courage to stand up against his own party and the status quo in Washington,” said Jason Huffman, Americans for Prosperity of WV.
But advocates for social infrastructure say it makes no sense to build roads if you can’t help parents get to jobs.
“Well, people need child care in order to get to work. If we want people to get back to work, then we need child care. But there is some child care support in this,” said Gary Zuckett, West Virginia Citizen Action Group.
In Washington, Senator Joe Manchin remains the key swing vote but wants to know the total economic impact before committing his vote either way.
“I’m very concerned about inflation. I hear all the time from West Virginians that the price of gas and them going to work is very hard on them. The price of groceries,” said Sen Joe Manchin, (D) West Virginia.
A bipartisan Senate passed the physical infrastructure bill, but so far the House has blocked it for lack of social infrastructure.
“It has been sitting over in the House since summer. Very frustrating for me because I think we could have already been starting on projects that we desperately need,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia.
Right now the bill also includes money to greatly expand broadband, especially in rural states such as West Virginia.
“As for when there might be a vote in Congress, well the reconciliation vote is still being drafted and you can’t have a vote until that is done,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.