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McMorris Rodgers:
New Bill Will Drive Inflation

by Anthony Kuipers
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, August 13, 2021

Congresswoman traveled to the Palouse on Tuesday to talk about economy, agriculture and energy

COLFAX -- Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers criticized the $1 trillion infrastructure bill the U.S. Senate passed Tuesday because she is concerned it will drive up inflation.

The Republican congresswoman representing Washington's 5th District spoke about this and other topics related to the economy, agriculture and energy during a Tuesday town hall event at The McGregor Company building in Colfax.

She spoke briefly about the infrastructure bill that was approved with bipartisan support in the Senate, but must still be voted on in the House.

McMorris said while she recognizes there is a long list of infrastructure needs in America, she is worried how this type of spending will affect inflation.

"Inflation is taxation when you think about it," she said. "Inflation is an increased tax on the cost of living. It's an increased tax on everything we buy."

She said the checks the government writes today will extend that tax to future generations.

"We need to make sure that as we are addressing needs within the federal government, that we're setting priorities and always working to live within our means," she said.

She spoke more favorably of another big spending effort that is focused on improving internet access in the U.S. She said billions of dollars are going to be spent during the next few years to expand broadband access in America.

"My goal is to make sure it actually goes to the unserved and underserved areas in eastern Washington and across the country," she said.

McMorris Rodgers said the underserved areas represent the digital divide in America that was made evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when people had to work and learn virtually.

As more haze rolled into the Palouse on Tuesday, McMorris Rodgers talked about wildfire prevention and eastern Washington's drought.

The congresswoman said she and other lawmakers wrote to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging him to declare a drought emergency declaration that would free up federal dollars for Washington.

When it comes to preventing wildfires, McMorris Rodgers said that the state is neglecting the condition of its forests.

She said that while people point to climate change as the main driver of these fires, they must also realize that millions of acres of Washington's trees are diseased and dying.

"Blaming it on climate change and then refusing to do anything doesn't make any sense to me," she said. "Our goal, again, should be on getting results. We should be focused on getting trees that are green and healthy so that our forests are healthy forests. That's one of the best deterrents to fires."

McMorris Rodgers took time Tuesday to reaffirm her support of efforts to protect the four lower Snake River dams.

The congresswoman said she is "all in on recovering endangered salmon" but said removing the dams is not the solution. She said pollution is the bigger threat against salmon, particularly in the Puget Sound.

She said the dams remain important to providing affordable hydropower and shipping routes for regional products.

Another pressing issue she spoke about is labor shortage in agriculture and other industries across eastern Washington. McMorris Rodgers said she is hopeful the workforce will improve, but she has heard the unemployment dollars and tax credits that people have received in the past year have become a disincentive to get people back to work.

Anthony Kuipers
McMorris Rodgers: New Bill Will Drive Inflation
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, August 13, 2021

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