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Texas could get billions from the infrastructure bill, yet all Texas Republicans voted against it

Christopher Connelly

The bill would bring an estimated $30 billion or more of infrastructure spending into the state. That includes money for federal highway programs, public transit and the state’s electric vehicle charging network.

Texas would benefit massively from the infrastructure bill that passed the House of Representatives late Friday, yet not one Texas Republican voted for it.

It’s now awaiting President Biden’s signature.

The bill would bring an estimated $30 billion — or more — of infrastructure spending into the state, according to a specific White House breakout for Texas. That includes $26.9 billion from federal highway programs, $3.3 billion for public transportation and $408 million to expand the state’s electric vehicle charging network. These outlays would come over the next five years.

There is also at least $100 million slated for broadband expansion in Texas. The White House said , “14% of Texas households do not have an internet subscription.”

All this funding could have a significant impact on the daily lives of people in Texas, said Michael Morris, director of transportation at the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

“If you’re interested in technology, if you’re interested in bike paths, if you’re interested in safety, if you’re interested in traditional [infrastructure], if you’re interested in reknitting communities, there’s a home for all of you in this new focus,” he told KERA when the bill passed the Senate in August.

While 13 House Republicans voted for the bill, none were from Texas’ congressional delegation.

In a statement, Fort Worth’s Kay Granger, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, said part of why she voted against the infrastructure package is because Democrats are also hoping to pass a different bill, one that funds child care, universal preschool and climate change mitigation. That bill, called the Build Back Better Act, has no GOP support in the Senate and would have to pass through a budget process known as “reconciliation.”

“The fact that this bill is only being voted on alongside the reconciliation bill proves that they are two sides of the same partisan, tax-and-spend coin,” Granger said.

She specifically disliked that $256 billion of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill would come from deficit spending, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Meanwhile, all of Texas’ 13 Democrats voted for the infrastructure bill.

“The House of Representatives made a transformational change in America by voting for the largest and most impactful legislation, I believe, in the history of the United States,” s aid Houston’s Sheila Jackson Lee after the vote.

Lee also said she held out her infrastructure vote “as long as [she] could” to get an agreement from moderate Democrats on scheduling a vote for the larger social spending bill on the week of Nov. 15 .

Here’s a list of the Texas Congressional delegation and how they voted, organized by party :

Republicans - all “no”

  • Louie Gohmert (Tyler)
  • Dan Crenshaw (Houston)
  • Van Taylor (Plano)
  • Pat Fallon (Sherman)
  • Lance Gooden (Terrell)
  • Jake Ellzey (Waxahachie)
  • Kevin Brady (The Woodlands)
  • Michael McCaul (Austin)
  • August Pfluger (San Angelo)
  • Kay Granger (Fort Worth)
  • Ronny Jackson (Amarillo)
  • Randy Weber (Friendswood)
  • Pete Sessions (Waco)
  • Jodey Arrington (Lubbock)
  • Chip Roy (Austin)
  • Troy Nehls (Richmond)
  • Tony Gonzales (San Antonio)
  • Beth Van Duyne (Irving)
  • Roger Williams (Austin)
  • Michael Burgess (Lewisville)
  • Michael Cloud (Victoria)
  • John Carter (Round Rock)
  • Brian Babin (Woodville)

Democrats - all “yes”

  • Lizzie Fletcher (Houston)
  • Al Green (Houston)
  • Vicente Gonzalez (McAllen)
  • Veronica Escobar (El Paso)
  • Sheila Jackson Lee (Houston)
  • Joaquin Castro (San Antonio)
  • Henry Cuellar (Laredo)
  • Sylvia Garcia (Houston)
  • Eddie Bernice Johnson (Dallas)
  • Colin Allred (Dallas)
  • Marc Veasey (Fort Worth)
  • Filemon Vela (Brownsville)
  • Lloyd Doggett (Austin)

Copyright 2021 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Bret Jaspers is a reporter for KERA. His stories have aired nationally on the BBC, NPR’s newsmagazines, and APM’s Marketplace. He collaborated on the series Cash Flows, which won a 2020 Sigma Delta Chi award for Radio Investigative Reporting. He's a member of Actors' Equity, the professional stage actors union.