Sen. Bill Cassidy on the bipartisan infrastructure bill
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - We spoke with U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy this morning about his thoughts on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) has come out in support of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that recently passed the U.S. Senate. They say if the legislation is passed in congress, every region in the state will benefit.
Senator Bill Cassidy, who voted for the bill, spoke about what the bill will do for Louisiana citizens. He says the state will see the following from the bill:
- $5.8 billion for roads and bridges
- Money specifically for the Calcasieu Parish ship channel to repair hurricane damage
- $4.5 billion for coastal restoration to states suffering from natural disasters in the last 6 years
- Development of high-speed internet infrastructure for all Louisiana citizens
Fellow Louisiana U.S. Senator John Kennedy, who voted against the bill, criticized it in a statement saying that petrochemical manufacturers will pay $130 million in new taxes each year as a result to cover the cost.
But Senator Cassidy says Louisiana will get more out of this bill than it costs citizens. He says the tax on petrochemical manufacturers is a super-fund fee that the industry has dealt with before. He adds that those taxes aren’t necessarily paid by the people in Louisiana but by the owners of the plant who may reside in other states.
In addition to this, he says that the chemical industry will make plenty of money as a result of the bill. He lists PPG as an example, who make chemicals for bridges. Cassidy says spending money on roads and bridges will generate business for PPG as well as construction workers that will be building the infrastructure.
U.S. Withdrawl from Afghanistan
Former President Donald Trump set the date for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan for May 1, 2021. However, once President Joe Biden took office, his administration altered the plans and pushed back the withdrawal date to August 31.
As the withdrawal from the region began, Taliban forces quickly seized territory from U.S.-backed Afgan forces. This led to a chaotic scene on Aug. 16 as Embassy staff in the area were evacuated and thousands of people fled to the Kabul airport.
Currently, the U.S. military is in the middle of a massive airlift evacuation operation as they try to get as many people to safety as possible before the August 31 deadline.
Many U.S. troops who fought in the region over the last 20 years are begining to ask, what was it all for and what happened?
Sen. Cassidy made clear that the veterans of this conflict did their job and kept us safe. The U.S. killed Osama Bin Laden as well as weakened Al Qaeda and ISIS. However, he says that, arguably, President Biden has not done his job. Cassidy says he can give many examples of what went wrong with the withdrawal process.
He adds that President Biden’s mistakes do not diminish the service of the veterans or the value of it.
COVID - 19
Regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. Cassidy says that one of the things that has helped tremendously is the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
Cassidy says anyone who was nervous about using the vaccine while it was still under an emergency use authorization can breathe a little easier. He says the vaccine is safe, effective, and prevents fatal cases.
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