Sink Local Money into Drinking Water Systems: GOP Lawmaker

Infrastructure is one of those things that people like to say shouldn’t be a partisan issue. “All of us, Democrats and Republicans, want good roads, bridges, pipes, et al.,” is the usual refrain.

But maybe the secret of infrastructure is that it actually is partisan: Democrats and Republicans have very different ideas about how to pay for it.

That’s the highlight of our conversation with Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), chairman of a key environmental subcommittee in the House.

Shimkus is working on a drinking water infrastructure funding bill with his Democratic counterpart on the subcommittee, Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), with whom we spoke a few weeks ago.

The biggest difference between the two Congressmen was in who they think should pay for the hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades that are needed across the country. Tonko wants the federal government to contribute more, while Shimkus thinks that this issue is best left up to local governments.

And Shimkus told us that this gets at some of the fundamental differences in philosophy between our country’s two political parties.

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