Minnesota Representative Praises New Bridge — Paid For By Infrastructure Bill He Opposed

Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) said he did not vote for the infrastructure bill because he feared it would inevitably lead to socialism.

A bit more than two years ago, Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) explained his vote against what was then referred to as the “bipartisan infrastructure bill” by saying, “I will not be complicit in paving a destructive and irreversible path towards socialism.”

On Monday, when it was announced the state would receive $1.05 billion in federal money from the bill-turned-law to build a new span to replace the 62-year-old Blatnik Bridge, Stauber took a different stance.

“The Blatnik Bridge is aging, and its restoration is essential to ensuring continued economic success, which is why I have long fought for these funds,” he said in a statement.

“Securing the money to help replace this bridge has been a top priority for both states, and I am proud to have worked with my Minnesota and Wisconsin Congressional colleagues to secure this critical investment.”

Stauber is by no means the only Republican, or even lawmaker, to take credit for the impact of a bill they voted against. But Democrats have increasingly made an effort to call out Republicans more often for that behavior, which former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has dubbed “vote no and take the dough.”

The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), the state affiliate of the national Democratic Party, pointed out the apparent hypocrisy.

“Pete Stauber is shamelessly trying to take credit for a project that is only possible because of a law he voted against,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin in a statement.

“Pete Stauber’s constituents deserve a member of Congress who will vote for commonsense bipartisan legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, not a hypocrite who pretends that he did.”

Minnesota’s Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, also a DFL member, was more blunt in a social media post: “Guys, who’s gonna tell Pete Stauber he voted against this bridge?”

On Thursday, President Joe Biden is set to visit Superior, Wisconsin, the city on the other side of the Saint Louis River and the Blatnik Bridge. While nothing has been announced, such a visit could include a campaign appearance to take credit for the project.

A voicemail asking for comment left with Stauber’s office after working hours was not immediately returned.

In November 2021, Stauber was one of 200 House Republicans to vote against the bill, which, despite its moniker, garnered only six GOP votes in support.

At the time, Stauber said he worried about the cost of the bill and that it would lead to even more spending.

“I will not be complicit in paving a destructive and irreversible path towards socialism. This massive spending package is not about real infrastructure, and instead will make businesses less competitive, outsource jobs, saddle American families and future generations with more debt and higher taxes, send inflation soaring to greater heights, and completely devastate our economy,” Stauber said.

“Make no mistake; a vote for this ‘infrastructure’ package is a vote for the reckless multi-trillion-dollar tax-and-spend spree. That’s why I voted NO,” he wrote.

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