The Capitol in Washington
A view of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. REUTERS/Erin Scott

All members of the San Diego congressional delegation except Darrell Issa voted Friday to pass a $1 trillion bill to upgrade American’s crumbling roads, bridges, ports and other infrastructure.

Reps. Sara Jacobs, Mike Levin, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas, all Democrats, voted with the majority, while Republican Issa rejected H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act., saying earlier in the day that it “does not build — it destroys.”

The bill passed the Senate in August with 19 Republican votes, but got fewer Republican votes in the House when it passed 228 to 206.

President Biden vowed to sign the bill immediately, and passage in the House was seen as a substantial triumph after Democrats bickered for months over two ambitious spending bills that make up the bulk of his domestic agenda.

Democrats still have much work to do on the second pillar of Biden’s domestic program: a sweeping expansion of the social safety net and programs to fight climate change with a price tag of $1.75 trillion.

“Our country is strongest when we actively pursue bipartisanship. The passage of this package illustrates that Congress is capable of working together to tackle some of the toughest issues facing our nation,” said Peters after the vote.

“Today we delivered massive investments for American safety and competitiveness that will uplift future generations. This funding will upgrade crucial infrastructure, support climate-conscious efforts, create jobs, and expand opportunities for those in San Diego,” he added.

But Issa cited gasoline prices, vaccine mandates, a shortage of workers, illegal immigration, and the situation in Afghanistan as more pressing problems for America.

Passage of the infrastructure legislation came after progressives in the Democratic caucus agreed to pass it first and moderates vowed to support the pending social spending legislation.

Peters, a moderate who negotiated a compromise on Medicare drug pricing last week, vowed to support the social spending bill.

Rep. Jacobs of San Diego’s 53rd District, a member of the Progressive Caucus, said in a statement: “After a long day, I’m grateful that we advanced the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to the president’s desk with a bipartisan vote and made significant progress toward passing the Build Back Better Act. 

“I was elected in the middle of this pandemic, and my constituents sent me here to make progress for San Diego and to build a recovery for all of us. Now that the infrastructure bill has passed the House, our top priority and focus is getting the Build Back Better Act across the finish line.”

Rep. Levin of the Orange-San Diego County straddling 49th District, said: “Today, the House of Representatives made critical progress on the President’s vision by advancing the most significant legislation for the American people in generations.

“We are making the single largest investment in climate action in our nation’s history. We are lowering prescription drug and health care costs, providing universal pre-K, improving home care for seniors and those with disabilities, and expanding affordable housing. We are investing in our roads, bridges, broadband, and power grids that are in desperate need of repair.

“And we are making all of these investments without raising taxes on anyone making more than $400,000. In fact, families with children are receiving a tax cut, as are middle-class families in my district who can once again take advantage of the State and Local Tax deduction.”

He added: “I’m also proud these bills include provisions similar to my Stop Child Hunger Act, American Coasts and Oceans Protection Act, and Desalination Development Act to deliver on key local priorities for North County San Diego and South Orange County. The provisions I helped secure will provide 29 million children with nutritious meals over the summer, end dangerous new offshore drilling activity off our coasts, and invest in water desalination so communities like ours have local, drought-proof sources of drinking water.”

Rep. Juan Vargas of the border’s 51st District said in a tweet: “I’m proud to have voted for a bill that creates millions of good-paying jobs with a once-in-a-century investment in infrastructure, such as, roads and bridges, clean drinking water, wastewater systems and broadband, for our communities and our nation.”

He added in a statement on his website: “Our nation’s crumbling and outdated infrastructure weakens our economy, hurts families, and causes added costs and delays for American businesses bringing their goods to market.

“Democrats are delivering a transformational and bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create good-paying jobs here in California, strengthen our economy, secure cleaner air and water, and make our communities a better place to live and work by bringing our infrastructure into the 21st century.”

Issa, repressing the inland and mostly conservative 52nd District, tweeted several remarks Friday night aiming barbs at Biden on other issues:

  • Now would be a good time to vote on fixing the supply chain crisis.
  • Now would be a good time to vote to secure the border.
  • Now would be a good time to vote to end the energy crisis.
  • Now would be a good time to vote to end Biden’s crime crisis.
  • Now would be a good time to vote to rescind Biden’s vaccine mandate.

Reuters contributed to this article.

Updated at 10:36 p.m. Nov. 5, 2021

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.