- The Washington Times
Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says the bipartisan infrastructure bill that made it through Congress is a “godsend” for his state, as the GOP pivots to attacking the social spending plank of President Biden’s agenda and his push to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine.

Though the legislation is seen as a feather in Mr. Biden’s cap, Mr. McConnell and 18 of his troops voted to invest $1 trillion in roads, bridges and the electric grid before the House sent it to the White House in a late Friday vote.

“We have a lot of infrastructure needs, both in rural areas and with big bridges. It’s a godsend for Kentucky,” Mr. McConnell said Monday as he toured the AppHarvest food facility in Morehead, Kentucky, according to WKYT.

His position contrasts with that of former President Donald Trump, who pilloried Senate Republicans and 13 House Republicans who backed the infrastructure plan.

The ex-president said it gave Mr. Biden a victory and Democrats will use the bounce to ram through a massive social welfare plan.

Mr. McConnell and other Republicans have been clear they do not like the parallel bill that invests in universal pre-kindergarten and a raft of other social programs.

They’re also contesting Mr. Biden’s push to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine at large companies, saying heavy-handed rules that take effect Jan. 4 could exacerbate labor shortages.

“I’m hearing from employers all over Kentucky and the country that they think significant numbers of people will quit. So it seems to be a better strategy is to continue to push for vaccination on the merits rather than mandating people do it,” Mr. McConnell said at the event covered by WKYT.

The senator said the courts will referee the mandate dispute but reiterated he is strongly supportive of getting vaccinated.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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