Sen. Lankford: 2,702-Page Infrastructure Bill is ‘Iliad, Odyssey, and War and Peace Combined’

By Ashlianna Kreiner | August 4, 2021 | 3:51pm EDT
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and book cover of The Iliad.  (Getty Images, Screenshot))
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and book cover of The Iliad. (Getty Images, Screenshot))

(CNS News) – When asked whether they will be able to read the 2,702-page infrastructure spending bill now under consideration in the Senate, Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said they did not think they would read all of the legislation.

Sen. Lankford jested that the legislative tome was “infrastructure poetry,” a combination of the Iliad, the Odyssey, and War and Peace.

At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, CNSNews.com asked the senators if they would read all 2,702 pages of the infrastructure bill before they vote on it.

Sen. Lankford chuckled and replied, “Uh, no. Depending on when they’re going to vote, if they set a vote. Twenty-seven hundred pages—I went and did the count on this.”

Turning to Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), standing next to him in the elevator, Lankford continued, “Gary, you’ll like this—it’s the Iliad, the Odyssey, and War and Peace combined.”

Sen. Peters commented, “Overall, great reads, listen I’m sure this will be equally as good.”

Sen. Lankford said, “This will be just like infrastructure poetry.”

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)    (Getty Images)
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) (Getty Images)

When CNSNews.com asked Sen. Ernst this question she replied, “I don’t believe so, not by the time they probably call for votes.”

Sen. Crapo answered similarly and said, “I or my staff, who will read it and report to me, will, yes.”

CNSNews.com asked both Senators Ernst and Crapo a follow-up question, whether they thought their colleagues would be able to read the infrastructure bill.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)   (Getty Images)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) (Getty Images)

Sen. Ernst said, “Well, you know, to be fair, large portions of the bill are basically what we passed in EPW and in Commerce. So those portions, those of us that worked on them, those are areas we have already gone through. But the rest of it, I don’t know. I just, I can’t speak for my colleagues but I think it would be very difficult to get it done.”

Sen. Crapo said: “Well, I believe the same—the same answer—you know, I can’t speak for my colleagues. But I believe that that’s generally the—I mean obviously 2,000 pages is hard for one individual to read through. But we all have good staff who have been working on this for weeks and weeks already. We’ve had much of the language already so then we can make progress.”

The estimated cost of the infrastructure bill is $1.2 trillion. The title of the legislation is the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.” In a fact sheet posted Tuesday, the White House amended the title to read, “Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Advancing Economic and Public Health Opportunities for Communities of Color.” 

  (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act addresses economic disparities in our economy and the consequences of decades of disinvestment in America’s infrastructure that have fallen most heavily on communities of color,” according to the White House. “Through critical investments, the legislation increases access to good-paying jobs, affordable high-speed internet, reliable public transit, clean drinking water and other resources to ensure communities of color get a fair shot at the American dream.”

“These critical investments are first steps in advancing equity and racial justice throughout our economy,” reads the fact sheet. It further says that the bill will safeguard “communities of color from climate crises and extreme weather risks.”

In an Aug. 3 statement about funding the infrastructure bill, Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) said, “We can't spend money we don't have. Period. Just look at what is happening with inflation. We were promised this infrastructure bill was fully paid for, and now we see that it's not. This was nothing more than a bait and switch.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“$205 billion of this bill was to be paid for with repurposed COVID funds. The latest proposal only shows $50 billion in COVID funds being used, as well as a lot of the proposed ‘pay-fors' missing. So we are asking our colleagues: How is this infrastructure spending bill being paid for? We still don't know.

"We still don't have a score on this legislation from the Congressional Budget Office. Let's not forget, this is just the first step in the Democrats' plan to pass their $5.5 trillion tax-and-spend liberal wish list. We support infrastructure, but it has to be paid for. This proposal isn't it."

Transcript

Sen.  James Lankford (R-Okla.)

CNSNews.com: "Will you be able to read all 2,702 pages of the infrastructure bill before you vote on it?"

Sen. Lankford: "Uh, no. Depending on when they’re going to vote, if they set a vote. Twenty-seven-hundred pages—I went and did the count on this Gary, you’ll like this—it’s the Iliad, the Odyssey, and War and Peace combined."

Sen. Peters: "Overall, great reads, listen I’m sure this will be equally as good."

Sen. Lankford: "This will be just like infrastructure poetry."

CNSNews.com: "All right, thank you."

 

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

CNSNews.com: "Will you be able to read all 2,702 pages of the infrastructure bill?"

Sen. Ernst: "I don’t believe so. Not by the time they probably call for votes."

CNSNews.com: "All right, do you believe any of your colleagues will have enough time to read it?"

Sen. Ernst: "Well, you know, to be fair, large portions of the bill are basically what we passed in EPW [Environment and Public Works] and in Commerce. So those portions, those of us that worked on them, those are areas we have already gone through. But the rest of it, I don’t know. I just, I can’t speak for my colleagues, but I think it would be very difficult to get it done."

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)

CNSNews.com: "Will you read all 2,702 pages of the infrastructure bill before you vote on it?"

Sen. Carper: "I or my staff, who will read it and report to me, will, yes."

CNSNews.com: "All right, and do you think any of your colleagues will as well?"

Sen. Caper: "Well, I believe the same—the same answer—you know I can’t speak for my colleagues. But I, I believe that that’s generally the—I mean, obviously 2,000 pages is hard for one individual to read through. But we all have good staff who have been working on this for weeks and weeks already. We’ve had much of the language already so then we can make progress."

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