South Florida Congressmen Discuss Infrastructure Package, Afghanistan, and More

The United States House and Senate are returning from a summer recess next week. Lawmakers will discuss a variety of topics, including President Biden’s infrastructure package that was passed by the Senate a few weeks ago.

Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch, who represents Florida’s 22nd District, told WPTV Michael Williams he expects a bipartisan bill to pass the House.

“It’s going to happen, whether it happens next week or in a few months, we need to be clear on the level of achievement here,” Representative Deutch said on To the Point. “What’s so frustrating is that we’re missing the opportunity to focus on the biggest ever transit investment and for the state of Florida, over $ 13 billion in bridges and highways, over $ 3 billion for public transit, over $ 1 billion for airports. “

Republican Congressman Brian Mast talks about infrastructure bill, Afghanistan and more

Republican Congressman Brian Mast, who represents Florida’s 18th District, disagreed, telling Williams he wouldn’t back an overly focused package.

“At the end of the day, they’re trying to put everything together into an unrelated ‘infrastructure’ and put them through a budget reconciliation program that I think has nothing to do with the House. “said Representative Mast.

Another subject that will be discussed in Congress is the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Rep. Mast is a veteran and served in Afghanistan. He told Williams he was worried about the power the Taliban had gained in a short period of time.

“With each passing minute, the Taliban are becoming more aware of the capabilities they have now,” said Representative Mast. “America had the elevation, the fortified locations of Bagram Airport, the most heavily fortified airport anywhere, our embassy, ​​the most fortified embassy in the world. They now have those heights.”

Representative Mast also spoke about the weapons the Taliban were able to obtain.

“They now have the most advanced military weapons, which include weapons to kill people on the ground but also to shoot objects in the air. It is a very dangerous situation,” added Representative Mast.

Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch talks about infrastructure bill, Afghanistan and more

Meanwhile, Representative Deutch, who sits on the House’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said lawmakers will need to consider how the pullout came about and whether something different should have taken place to make a safer transition. .

“This is something that we will be dealing with for a while, that said that there will be time for us to understand, and we are already working on it in the Committee on Foreign Affairs, to understand exactly what is happening. is over and if there were the intelligence failures and how that decision was made, but the point is, most people agree that we are not going to stay in Afghanistan forever, ”said Representative Deutch. “Most people agree that when the Afghan president chose to flee and the Afghan army laid down their arms, it proves that we could not have been there forever.”

The United States’ response to the coronavirus pandemic and the increase in cases in the United States will also be a priority for lawmakers, especially those in Florida. The federal government has offered support to school districts that face funding problems after imposing masks in classrooms, which goes against state law.

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Rep. Mast and Rep. Deutch disagreed over the actions of Governor Ron DeSantis.

“Your doctor can tell you that you need it, that this and these things might all be right, but the liberty and the constitution also say that as an individual in the United States of America you have the freedom to go out there and make those choices for yourself. and that’s where we need to be, “said Rep. Mast.” I think the governor is leading us in the right direction, in saying to protect yourself as you wish. If you want to wear a mask, you are free to do so. If you want to be vaccinated, you are free to do so. If you want a booster, you are free, but it is not does not mean that there has to be a requirement for every person. “

“Starting with the governor, frankly, we need to stop being on offense and in attack mode and start looking for ways to work together to do everything we can to stop the spread and keep everyone safe,” he said. said Representative Deutch. “” I understand how political everything is but on this one let’s just wear masks to protect each other and if you are not vaccinated I don’t want to be judgmental, I want to cheer you on to get vaccinated. This is the important thing for people to do now. It can help save their life, the lives of their family and it will help get this thing under control. “

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