Swalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down

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Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) is seen during a press conference after a closed-door House Republican conference meeting on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.
Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) is seen during a press conference after a closed-door House Republican conference meeting on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.


Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) slammed Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) on Thursday for touting funding lawmakers secured to improve locks and dams in her home state that was tucked away in a sweeping $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill she voted against last year.

"Tell the truth @RepAshleyHinson - you didn't vote for this bill. You voted for a dam collapse. If you had your way your neighbors would be underwater. Thankfully, @HouseDemocrats passed this bill and we did your dam job. Give me a break," Swalwell tweeted shortly after midnight.

His criticism came in response to a tweet Hinson made the day before promoting the more than $800 million in federal funding secured in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a major component of President Biden's legislative agenda, that she described as "game-changing" for the agriculture industry in her home state.

"​​BREAKING: We secured $829 million in federal funding to upgrade locks & dams along the Upper Mississippi River," Hinson tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. "This is game-changing for Iowa's agriculture industry & our Mississippi River communities!"

The tweet also linked out to a press release posted on her office's website the day before detailing the funding, which it said will be put toward the completion of a "new 1,200-foot lock, an environmental restoration project at Lock & Dam 22, and other small-scale ecosystem and navigation projects in the region."

The office said the announcement arrived one month after she signed on to a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that called on the administration to "prioritize funding the construction" of the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program on the Upper Mississippi River System with "the $2.5 billion for inland waterways provided in the" infrastructure bill.

Hinson defended her vote against the overall infrastructure package that included the funding for locks and dams in a statement to The Hill on Thursday.

"Congresswoman Hinson opposed the infrastructure package because it was tied to trillions of other spending in the House. Since the bill was signed into law, this money was going to be spent regardless. If there's federal money on the table she is, of course, going to do everything she can to make sure it is reinvested in Iowa," said Sophie Seid, communications director for Hinson. "That's why she worked with a bipartisan group of her colleagues in asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize NESP construction along the Upper Mississippi River."

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Hinson and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) in leading the letter. Each of the leaders also voted last year to pass the infrastructure bill, except for Hinson.

However, there were others listed as co-signers to the letter who voted against the bill last year, including Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), James Comer (R-K.Y.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Billy Long (R-Mo.), Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and others.

Updated: 12:14 p.m.

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