U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the importance of allowing a robust and thorough process to give senators ample time to discuss, digest, and offer amendments to the infrastructure package currently being considered in the Senate.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, it is good to see the Senate taking up a genuinely bipartisan bill this week.
“A group of members from both parties spent weeks developing this legislation, and we saw the result of their work in the bipartisan support for proceeding to this legislation.
“Now we need to let that bipartisan process continue.
“We need to give members who weren’t a part of the bipartisan group a chance to weigh in.
“And that means making sure that we have a robust amendment process.
“I know the majority leader is eager to get through this legislation and on to Democrats’ next piece of partisan legislation – a $3.5 trillion tax-and-spending spree.
“But that’s not a good reason for rushing this infrastructure bill through the Senate.
“This is an enormous bill, Mr. President.
“It is more than 2,700 pages long.
“And the legislative text was just released last night.
“To start with, members need time to digest this legislation.
“And then members need the opportunity to offer amendments.
“The bill before us today is a genuinely bipartisan bill.
“And I am very grateful for the tireless efforts of the members who put in so many long days – and nights – and weekends – to get us to this point.
“I spent the weekend in Washington as the bipartisan group worked through many final drafting issues.
“And I appreciate that the members of the group took the time to get the bill as right as possible before introducing it.
“But this legislation was still put together by only a handful of senators.
“And, unlike traditional highway bills, there are major pieces of this legislation that have not been through the rigor of a committee process.
“So all members deserve the chance to weigh in.
“A number of senators have raised legitimate concerns about this legislation – such as whether the proposed pay-fors are sufficient to keep this legislation from driving up our debt – and they deserve to have the chance to air those concerns and offer possible solutions.
“Mr. President, infrastructure legislation is some of the most essential legislation we consider.
“Commerce in this country depends on the strength of our infrastructure – from up-to-date electric grids to well-maintained airports and train tracks, ports and waterways, and roads and bridges.
“We need to get this legislation right.
“That means giving members ample time to examine the details of this bill.
“And it means giving members the chance to address any problems in the bill through a meaningful amendment process.
“We shouldn’t sacrifice adequate time on this bill merely because the Democrat leader would like to spend next week jamming a 100-percent partisan piece of legislation through the Senate.
“Let’s honor the bipartisan process that’s gotten us this far by finishing this infrastructure bill with a robust, bipartisan amendment process.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”