To watch the interview, click here.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today joined CNN’s “State of the Union” to discuss the Republican infrastructure framework she and her colleagues unveiled last week, police reform, and more.
ON FOCUSING ON PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE: “Well, I think we have to look at the comparison of the two plans. We really narrowed the focus on infrastructure to really look at physical infrastructure, roads, bridges, rail, airports, water systems. The president's bill, the $2.2 trillion goes far afield from that. Where, I think, the first starting point is let's do an apples-to-apple comparison of the physical structure, the core infrastructure of his plan with what matches up with what we put forward. The president asked for our plan, and we thought it was really important to put a marker in to show what we thought was important, what's going to be the job creating infrastructure plan, and how much it would be. So, I think we're at a really—and all indications are it's time to really start putting the pencils to the paper.”
ON BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE: “Well, we're open to looking at all of these different areas, as long as it's paid for. We have always done this bipartisan, this physical infrastructure piece, and there's no reason we shouldn't be able to get to an agreed amount at this point. I don't know where that is right now, but at least we're talking and we're starting to talk, and we have gotten some good signals back that this is direction the white house and others want to go.”
ON PAY FORS: “Where I think it's important for folks to know how we've paid for, the ideas we have on the table, we've got of course the gas tax, which is the trust fund, which is a declining resource. We also have user fees. We have folks using our roads and bridges and other infrastructure that aren't really paying in for the maintenance and use of those highways, that would be electric vehicles or hydrogen or some hybrid, so we build that into formula. I think too an idea we need to look at is to look at the COVID dollars that have already been appropriated and move that towards infrastructure, let our cities and towns use that money for roads and bridges for their match. So, I think we've got some really good ideas that don't incorporate raising any taxes, but simply looks at the users and the consumers of infrastructure and says let's pay with this, with dollars that we generate from those entities.”
ON BIPARTISAN DISCUSSIONS: “Yes, I have. Yes, I have. Very encouraging signs. I saw what Jen Psaki said in her comments and I have talked to others, and we are circling back on Monday to figure out the best strategies forward. I have talked to our ranking members, our committee chairman, I have talked to Democrats. This is an active conversation, and I think that it's a good beginning.”
ON POLICE REFORM: “Well, I definitely support Senator Scott's efforts. I was on the JUSTICE Act that got caught up in politics in the fall. I think he has redoubled his efforts and is working across the aisle. I think the time is now. I think there's a real—and it's probably past due, but a real want to get this done and I think to get it done right, but we've got to make sure that we are still recruiting in and have the possibilities of having is a core, I think, function of our government which is a law enforcement that protects us, a qualified immunity is definitely a hot button issue. I think the way that Senator Scott has formulated some revisions to qualified immunity is on the table right now. I know he's in active negotiations on this piece. I think that's a big piece of this… I like what Senator Scott has put forward. I think other things that we have in the JUSTICE Act would eliminate choke holds, it makes the registry so that you're not passing bad cop to bad cop. there's a lot of really good things that I think are going to be the core of any kind of justice bill that we pass. I know there's different ideas, there's the George Floyd Act and others, so we'll be looking at that to try to find ways to move forward.”
ON VACCINE CONFIDENCE: “I believe that we should all have confidence to not just protect ourselves, but our communities and our neighbors. We should get vaccinated and I wouldn't say that only Republicans have hesitancy, I think that there are some folks that are unsure, and, you know, when we saw what happened over the last week with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, that really sort of chills people that were maybe waiting… West Virginia has done a great job in this area, but we're starting to find that we have more vaccine than we do have people who are willing to step forward. I'm trying to do whatever I can to say it's safe, it's reliable, and it's really about you and your neighbor and that's what we need.”
On February 11, Senator Capito met with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and other Senate infrastructure leaders at the White House to discuss the nation’s transportation and infrastructure needs. U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joined the meeting by phone.
Senator Capito’s full statement following that meeting can be found here.
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