Larry Hogan Slams Political Gamesmanship on Infrastructure Bill: U.S. Will 'Fall Behind' China

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan criticized "political gamesmanship" over the bipartisan infrastructure bill ahead of its anticipated vote in the House of Representatives next week.

In his opinion piece published Saturday in USA Today, Hogan, a Republican, slammed lawmakers in Washington D.C. who "have pulled every trick in the book to avoid just giving the bill the up-or-down vote it deserves."

"Only in Washington do politicians work this hard to find excuses to not do anything," he wrote. "At this point, they can't even pass the things they agree on."

He wrote that it is "obvious" that the United States' infrastructure is "crumbling and in desperate need of federal investment," and he believes the bill should and will pass.

"Unfortunately, the political gamesmanship of the last two months may have slowly eroded its strong bipartisan support," Hogan argued. "If the bill fails, it will be more proof that Washington may be even more broken than America's infrastructure."

He warned that if the bill does not pass, the United States will "continue to fall behind" countries like China that, he said, spend three times more than the U.S. on infrastructure.

"Failure to do so could cost America 2.5 million lost jobs in 2025 and 5.8 million lost jobs in 2040," Hogan wrote. "The devastating impacts of recent storms and the pandemic have only made clear the urgency of increased investments in resiliency and broadband."

The Senate passed the $1.2 trillion bill in August with bipartisan support. Nineteen Republicans joined every Democrat in supporting the legislation, which includes funding for roads and bridges, high-speed internet, rail and transit, drinking water upgrades, and other priorities meant to shore up the nation's crumbling infrastructure.

However, the bill has faced an uphill challenge in the House, where progressive and centrist Democrats have gone back-and-forth over the bill.

Progressives including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, have said they would not vote for the $1.2 trillion bill unless the House and Senate approve a larger, Democratic-backed $3.5 trillion plan that contains funding for "human" infrastructure—such as tackling climate change, expanding Medicare, and offering free two-year community college.

In total, about 45 House progressives could vote against the smaller bill. Democrats can only afford to lose a few votes due to their razor-thin majority.

Meanwhile, nine centrist Democrats pledged to vote against the budget resolution needed to pass the $3.5 trillion bill unless the House first votes for the smaller bill in a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August.

The larger infrastructure bill has already faced opposition from moderate Senate Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have both said the spending in the larger package is too high.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday the House will have a vote on the $1.2 trillion plan Monday, according to The Hill. Some House Republicans have indicated they will vote in support of the bipartisan bill, like Don Bacon, a centrist Republican from Nebraska who represents a district Biden won, the outlet reported.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, the Washington Democrat who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the bill does not have enough votes to pass, according to The Hill.

Polls have found that most Americans support the infrastructure plan. An August Fox News poll found that 62 percent of Americans support the $1.2 trillion plan. Fifty-six percent supported the larger bill in both the August and September Fox News polls.

Governor Larry Hogan
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan blamed “political gamesmanship” for eroding support of the bipartisan infrastructure bill as the House anticipates to vote on it next week. Here, he speaks at a press conference in Annapolis in April 2020. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images