Republican Dave McCormick Would Repeal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

The GOP candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania blamed the bill and other spending for inflation.

Dave McCormick, a wealthy former hedge fund manager and leading Republican candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, would vote to repeal President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, he said on a pro-Trump radio show in mid-November.

During McCormick’s appearance on “The John Fredericks Show,” Fredericks asked McCormick how he would “stand firm to cut spending” once in the Senate.

“The No. 1 thing you do with a Senate majority and a House majority and a Republican president in the White House is you roll back all those incredible, expensive Biden bills — the infrastructure bill, the Build Back Better — all of that stuff, that’s the money that’s driving this huge uptick in inflation,” McCormick responded.

McCormick, who failed to capture the GOP Senate nomination in 2022, is hoping to unseat Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in November. A victory for McCormick could virtually ensure a Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate during a cycle when Democrats are playing defense on a difficult map.

McCormick, right, and his wife, Dina Powell McCormick, attend a gala in Manhattan in June 2023. McCormick's position on infrastructure puts him to the right of 19 Senate Republicans.
McCormick, right, and his wife, Dina Powell McCormick, attend a gala in Manhattan in June 2023. McCormick's position on infrastructure puts him to the right of 19 Senate Republicans.
Sylvain Gaboury/Getty Images

But McCormick’s opposition to the infrastructure bill — and promise to repeal it — exposes him to political attack from Democrats, who are likely to paint him as a hardline conservative out of step with voters in a purple battleground state. (Contrary to McCormick’s claim, Build Back Better did not become law; a significantly scaled back bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, did.)

The infrastructure bill passed Congress in August 2021 with the support of 19 Republican senators and 13 Republican House members, including Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, who hails from the Philadelphia suburbs.

“Senator Casey fought to make sure the bipartisan infrastructure law will deliver thousands of good-paying jobs in Pennsylvania for years to come,” said Maddy McDaniel, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. “Meanwhile, professional job-killer David McCormick’s mission is to kill off every job in the Commonwealth, from laying off workers to outsourcing American jobs and now repealing the infrastructure law.”

McCormick’s campaign defended the candidate’s stance, citing a Kimberly Strassel column in The Wall Street Journal that said that less than one-quarter of the bill’s spending went to traditional infrastructure like roads, bridges, tunnels and waterways.

“While Pennsylvania’s infrastructure needs improving, a stunning 77% of the so-called ‘infrastructure’ bill that Bob Casey rubber stamped went to fund Democrats’ ridiculous climate pet projects rather than actual infrastructure in our communities,” Elizabeth Gregory, a spokesperson for McCormick’s campaign, said in a statement. “At a time of historic inflation, Joe Biden and Casey increased the financial burden on taxpayers, once again failing the people of Pennsylvania.”

Strassel’s op-ed in the Journal is based on a July 2021 analysis conducted by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a centrist think tank, that found that the bill dedicated $110 billion to roads, bridges and major construction projects, and $17 billion to ports and waterways. That means the bill would spend just $127 billion of its $548 billion in new spending on “items that most people associate with” the term infrastructure, according to Strassel.

The final version of the infrastructure bill created $566 billion in new spending.

But even under the old total, Strassel’s math is misleading. Strassel, McCormick, and other conservatives object to the bill’s investments in electric vehicles, environmental resilience, public transit and a greener electric infrastructure.

But CRFB’s original analysis shows that the bill included plenty more in so-called traditional infrastructure spending than Strassel admits. Key line items include $66 billion for freight and passenger rail (the latter of which Strassel claims is only used by a small subset of the population), $25 billion for airports, $11 billion to improve road safety, $65 billion to expand broadband internet service, and $55 billion for water infrastructure, such as removal of lead pipes.

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