Senator Grassley. (file photo)

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s looking forward to digging into President Biden’s massive, near-trillion-dollar infrastructure bill.

Grassley, a Republican, says the Senate has voted to proceed with consideration of the bi-partisan bill. “I voted yes on the procedural vote but I’m still undecided on the final legislation,” Grassley says. “That has to do more with costs than with the expenditure part of the bill.”

Over five years, the measure calls for some $550 billion in new spending beyond projected federal levels. Grassley says he wants to be sure it’s dealing with “traditional, physical infrastructure,” things like roads and bridges, and not new social programs.
“The text of the legislation is more than 2,700 pages,” Grassley says, “so I and my staff are going through that now and we’re working with other offices as well to understand exactly everything that’s in it.”

Family farmers rely on the state’s highways and waterways to get their products to consumers, Grassley says, and maintaining those routes is paramount in the bill. Access to high-speed internet is another key element. “At nearly all the 85 counties I’ve been in, I’ve had a Q-and-A this year,” Grassley says, “and Iowans bring up infrastructure, particularly broadband and there’s $65 billion in this bill for broadband.”

Grassley says he’ll make a final decision on whether he’ll back the measure after weighing the full bill as well as any amendments that are adopted.