Trump calls for primary of Chris Smith, pardons Jeff Van Drew over infrastructure vote

FREEHOLD, NJ – Two New Jersey Republican congressmen, Chris Smith and Jeff Van Drew both voted in favor of Joe Biden and the Democrat party’s trillion-dollar infrastructure bill.

Republicans in New Jersey were up in arms, claiming the lone GOP representatives in New Jersey should have voted against the Biden agenda. Republican voters took to the Ocean County GOP page after the local county party.

Former U.S. President Donald J. Trump called for a primary against Smith, who represents northern Ocean County and Monmouth County, but allowed former Democrat Van Drew to slide under the radar. Next month, Trump is hosting a large ticket fundraiser for Van Drew at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

“Any interest from good and SMART America First Republican Patriots to run primary campaigns against Representatives Tom Rice, John Katko, Don Bacon, Don Young, Fred Upton (challenge accepted), Andrew Garbarino, Peter Meijer (challenge accepted), David McKinley (challenge accepted), Nancy Mace, Jaime Herrera Beutler (challenge accepted) and Chris Smith?” Trump said in a press release. “You will have my backing! Gonzalez, Kinzinger, and Reed already QUIT, they are out of politics, hopefully for good. Warmonger Liz Cheney (challenge accepted) is on the SKIDS with a 19% approval rating. Saving America starts by saving the GOP from RINOs, sellouts, and known losers! In the Senate, the “Disaster from Alaska,” Lisa Murkowski (challenge accepted), must go. There is “almost” nobody worse!”

On Friday, Smith issued a statement, “Why I voted for the infrastructure bill.”

Smith said that he voted “yes” on this critically important infrastructure funding legislation but will vote ‘no’ when President Biden’s so-called Build Back Better bill, commonly referred to as the “soft infrastructure bill” comes up for a vote—on or around November 15th.

 “Many people appear to have been genuinely misled into believing that provisions of the so-called Build Back Better legislation—pushed by President Biden and progressive Democrats—were included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure legislation. That was simply not the case,” said Smith.

You can read the entire Chris Smith press release below:

WASHINGTON—A bipartisan infrastructure bill supported by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) to repair and rebuild dangerous roads, bridges, rail lines, tunnels, lead-contaminated water pipes and more will become law on Monday.

            “Above all, this legislation is necessary to better ensure the safety of the people in my district, New Jersey, and the nation,” Smith said. Officially known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bill will fund hard infrastructure projects and boost commerce, jobs and economic growth. 

             Smith said that he voted “yes” on this critically important infrastructure funding legislation but will vote ‘no’ when President Biden’s so-called Build Back Better bill, commonly referred to as the “soft infrastructure bill” comes up for a vote—on or around November 15th.

 “Originally, the two major bills were scheduled to be voted on in the House on the same day—Friday, November 5th —but then only the infrastructure bill actually came to the House floor. This created a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding.”

        

 “Infrastructure funding has long been recognized as critical to the U.S. economy, creating and sustaining jobs and for the safety of Americans,” explains Smith.

 In March of 2020, then-President Trump called for a new $2 trillion infrastructure bill that he said should be “very big and bold”. Smith supported that initiative but it never made it into law.

According to Smith, the recently passed bipartisan $1.2 trillion bill isn’t as big or as bold but will help rebuild New Jersey’s crumbling infrastructure by providing at least: 

  • $6.9 billion for New Jersey highways and roads,
  • $4.2 billion to improve New Jersey public transportation,
  • $1.1 billion for bridge replacement and maintenance.

Smith pointed out that of the 1,156 bridges in the counties of his congressional district—117, or 10.1 percent, are classified as structurally deficient and that repairs are needed on 369 bridges in those counties alone.

37% of roads in N.J. are in poor condition

A report by the American Society of Civil Engineers states “37% of roads in N.J. are in poor condition” and “driving on roads in need of repair in New Jersey costs each driver $713 per year.”

Get the lead out

The Bipartisan Infrastructure bill also authorizes $55 billion in emergency funding for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure—including $15 billion for lead service line replacement—over five years through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF).

            “Safe drinking water is an essential necessity of everyday life—not a luxury,” said Smith, who authored the Get the Lead Out Act (HR 3300) to specifically combat lead-tainted pipelines in towns in his district and other places in New Jersey. First introduced in 2020, Smith’s bipartisan legislation would authorize $66.2 billion over ten years and direct every utility in America to develop a plan to identify and remove lead pipes that threaten the health of residents—especially children.

New Jersey has an estimated 350,000 lead service lines according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and can expect to receive over $1 billion over the next five years to improve water infrastructure and help towns “Get the Lead Out” of pipes that service homes, schools and other facilities.

            Making the commute safer

“Every weekday, about 200,000 New Jersey residents—including many from my congressional district—travel to New York by train. The Gateway Program—funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill—will replace the increasingly dangerous infrastructure including tunnels under the Hudson River,” Smith said.

According to the Gateway Program website the initiative  “focuses on a 10-mile segment of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and includes a program of projects that would replace and update rail infrastructure assets that, in many cases, are over 100 years old, as well as increase track, tunnel, bridge and station capacity. This segment of the NEC carries over 200,000 daily Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT passenger trips on approximately 450 trains.”

Part of this major overhaul includes:

  • the construction of a new two-track Hudson River rail tunnel from New Jersey to Manhattan that will directly serve Penn Station.
  • and the rehabilitation of the 111 year-old North River Tunnel, which incurred serious damage during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Smith noted that the legislation will also provide approximately $272 million to improve New Jersey’s airport infrastructure development and $5 billion to clean polluted Superfund sites across the United States—including 151 sites in New Jersey, which has the most toxic sites in the country.

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