ST. JOSEPH, Mich. — With just weeks until Congress heads home from Washington, securing money for roads, bridges and more are among the top priorities for lawmakers.
Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) remains hopeful the Senate will work to pass a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan, recently endorsed by his bipartisan House Problems Solvers Caucus.
“If the [Senate] could pass a bill with bipartisan support, we can add the votes in the House to do the same thing. And in fact, get it to the president before the August break really begins,” Upton said.
The bill, which is nearly half of what the Biden Administration initially called for, would include more than $500 million in new spending on transportation, roads, bridges, and broadband, as well as provide money to upgrade drinking water systems.
“Let's face it, it's time to get to the 21st century. This is going to help big time,” Upton added.
"It focuses on roads and bridges, it focuses on lead lines. Remember, Flint? And a lot of communities have that too. Airports, ports, broadband And really, one of the things that I've helped big time on is making sure that our electric system, our grids, our energy system, whether they be pipelines or energy systems, are resilient not only to weather but also cyberattacks, as we've seen over the last number of weeks," Upton said.
Infrastructure just one of the many pressing issues in Michigan the other vaccines rates, which are declining rapidly and falling short of the state and president’s 70% goal.
While Upton has been advocating for all people to get their shots, among the most vaccine hesitant are Republican men.
“I don’t know why,” said Upton. "It's pretty known that it's safe."
“We're not out of the woods yet. As I talked to my hospitals, my health care providers and they give me the numbers of people that have been affected, particularly this new delta variant. It's very discouraging to hear that in fact most of the people that are getting that have not been vaccinated. That's got to change,” Upton added.
He supports incentives like the “MI Shot to Win” sweepstakes now open in Michigan. “Let's hope that it encourages more people to go.”
Our conversation with the congressman coming six months after the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol. After which, Upton was among 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach former President Donald Trump and then one of 35 to support forming an independent commission to investigate the incident.
Though last week he voted against forming a special committee created by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, after Senate Republicans didn't support the independent commission bill.
“We'll see how it goes. I hope it doesn't play into politics of 2022. But, you know, you still need some answers.” Upton says, while hoping the probe is nonpartisan.
“You voted against it, but you do still have hope this maybe we'll get some answers about what happened?” asked FOX 17’s Aaron Parseghian.
“We'll see. We don't know, we're left with no choice," Upton answered.
The Senate could take up the bipartisan infrastructure proposal by mid-July.