By Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer
Since my first day in Congress, I’ve made my priorities clear: I’m committed to fighting for the hardworking men and women of Iowa’s First District, standing up for small businesses and rebuilding our infrastructure to grow our economy.
Earlier this month, I helped pass H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, to deliver major investments in Iowa’s roads, bridges and other key infrastructure while also ensuring strong “Buy America” and wage protections for workers and manufacturers as well as new opportunities for Iowa’s homegrown biofuels.
The package invests nearly $4 billion in Iowa transportation and transit systems, schools, housing, broadband access, water infrastructure, and modernizing our Postal Service. It contains provisions from four separate bills that I introduced — three of which I sponsored with bipartisan support. I also added five amendments to the bill — three of which were adopted on a bipartisan basis.
The measures I successfully added to the Moving Forward Act include increasing the Rebuild Rural grant program by $150 million for rural road improvements; making biofuels eligible for $1 billion in Community Climate Innovation grants; and improving rural broadband deployment.
The provisions included from my Stop Swaps, Protect Local Jobs Act will reverse state laws in Iowa and elsewhere that allow local governments to dodge Buy-America and fair wage provisions on building projects and use foreign-made steel and materials. To help our rural communities, we also included enhanced technical assistance to more easily access project funds and updated the Safe Routes to Schools program to ensure rural school districts receive outreach and access to funds for developing safe walking and biking routes for students.
We’ve heard loud and clear from Iowans that we must fix our crumbling roads and bridges. I’m fighting every day to update and improve our infrastructure to make Iowans safer, our economy more productive and our communities better connected. That’s why Iowans sent me to Congress. The Moving Forward Act delivers for Iowa, with $3.5 billion in federal highway funding to rebuild Iowa’s roads and bridges and $337 million to support Iowa transit systems.
During the House floor debate on the Moving Forward Act, I also spoke against a proposed amendment that would have gutted fair wage protections for skilled laborers working on federal projects. I couldn’t help but think of workers like my dad, a retired union pipefitter-welder. Slashing the wages of laborers, our toughest workers, is unacceptable — which exactly the message I delivered on the House floor. Thankfully, this amendment failed.
I’ve been working on bipartisan legislation since I arrived in Congress, and I’m proud to see the results of that work in the Moving Forward Act. Working directly on solutions that will create jobs and make a real difference for Iowans today and generations into the future is an incredible honor. It’s the work I came to Washington to do.
Now, it’s time for the Senate and President to come to the table to move forward real infrastructure investment for our nation.
Abby Finkenauer represents Iowa’s First District in the U.S. House of Representatives.