OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Congressman Don Bacon was passionate Tuesday in defending his vote on the infrastructure bill that narrowly passed through the house last week.
“It was a bi-partisan bill and it should have stayed that way,” said Bacon, a Republican.
While 13 Republican House members, and 19 Republican Senators, including Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, voted for the bill, he says he’s been targeted on social media by conservatives upset about his vote.
“They think it’s a socialism bill, and I can tell you if it’s socialism, I guarantee Fischer wouldn’t vote for it, Grassley wouldn’t vote for it, the Farm Bureau wouldn’t like it, the Chamber wouldn’t vote for it,” said Bacon.
Bacon says people are confused on what he voted for.
Currently, a broad coalition of Democrats are trying to pass two infrastructure bills separately.
One, that just passed congress, is a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that gives Nebraska over $2 billion for roads and bridges and around $100 million for rural broadband.
While that bill had broad support from Senate Democrats, several progressive House members voted against it. But the bill was saved by Bacon and the dozen other GOP members, who voted to pass it.
The other bill Democrats are trying to pass through in the Reconciliation process only needs 50 votes in the Senate. While details are murky, that bill appears to tackle climate change, immigration, IRS reform and other issues with a total price tag of over $1.8 trillion.
Bacon says the bills were blended together by some Republicans, giving misinformation, in hopes of sinking both bills.
“90% of the people that are angry about it are hearing things from other elected republicans and some so-called conservative news sites and they’re being told lies," said Bacon.
Bacon's vote appears to be drawing friendly fire from other House Republicans.
Political newsletter Punchbowl News reported Tuesday that some GOP members want to punish fellow Republicans, like Bacon, for voting for the infrastructure bill with things like stripping him of his committee assignments.
“And if they do that — try to do it — they’re going to give me a platform to make our case and I know truth wins out but I also realize, it’s a handful of members. Democrats have their squad, we have our squad,” said Bacon.
Finally, Bacon appeared frustrated on how the whole process went down. He says he helped work on the bill at its infancy, but saw strong pushback from Republican leadership in the House on an issue he believes is popular and bi-partisan.
He wishes the Republicans would have galvanized around the bill and put pressure on the Democrats.
“This is what made me mad, it was bad strategy by our leadership. We should have, in August, embraced this infrastructure bill and put pressure on the Democrats to get this bill fielded and not link it to the other bill,” said Bacon.
Once the infrastructure deals are finished, Bacon says he wants to pass less controversial bills on topics like foster care and cyber security.
You can watch our full interview with Bacon below.