US Senate votes down $50B defense infrastructure boost

US Senate votes down $50B defense infrastructure boost

Though Republicans hoped to stage a tough vote for centrist Democrats from states with military facilities, Democrats remained unified and the amendment was defeated on a bipartisan basis, 53-46.

Republicans Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Mike Braun voted with the majority.

The amendment effort, led by Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., offered billions for shipyard rehabilitation projects, supply depots, nuclear infrastructure and 5G telecommunications gear.

It is one of many amendments expected to be considered during an hours-long series of votes before Democrats approve the resolution to tee up a $3.5 trillion spending plan.

Democrats blocked consideration of the amendment when it was offered for a massive $1 trillion infrastructure package, which the Senate approved earlier in the day. When Shelby offered his amendment again for the budget resolution, he accused Democrats of turning a blind eye to their states’ military infrastructure needs and economic interests.

“These infrastructure projects are absolutely critical to our national security, they impact millions of jobs across the country, both military and civilian,” Shelby said ahead of the vote. “We’re talking about projects not just in my home state of Alabama but in Arizona, Georgia, Virginia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, and many more.”

“As it’s written, this [amendment] provides over $50 billion in funding for unspecified uses,” Reed said. “It could be infrastructure, it could be military platforms, it could be a host of things. And the fund would extend from 2022 to 2031, beyond this Congress and beyond the current administration.”

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Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.