Demings looks to leverage new infrastructure law

Nov 24, 2021


BY GARY FINEOUT

Hello and welcome to Wednesday.


Get back Florida Democrats are testing whether finally getting something done in Washington, D.C., can help them back home.


Two of us — Democrats — as previously cataloged — are facing a lot of headwinds in Florida going into 2022, whether it’s fundraising disadvantages, President Joe Biden’s sinking poll ratings here, or the fact that Republicans have overtaken them in voter registrations.

I’ve got a feeling The passage of the big infrastructure law — as well as the nearly $2 trillion social spending and climate legislation sitting in the Senate — is giving them to something to campaign on, and use against their GOP rivals.


The long and winding road Rep. Val Demings, the Orlando Democrat challenging Sen. Marco Rubio, has started publicizing the infrastructure bill while constantly pointing out how Rubio did not join with more than a dozen other GOP senators who ultimately voted for it. “There are 408 bridges and more than 3,564 miles of highway in poor condition across Florida,” she said on Twitter on Tuesday. “The Sunshine State is set to repair roads and bridges thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Marco Rubio voted against this. I voted for it.”


Don’t let me down Demings also held events in both Apopka — including one with the town’s Republican mayor — and Orlando to highlight money included in the new law that will be used for new buses and water projects. “We couldn't do it without the federal government, and Congresswoman Demings has been a great advocate for us here in Apopka in helping us with projects we need, but can't afford,” Apopka Mayor and former GOP legislator Bryan Nelson said, according to a local news website.


Let it be Rubio trashed this same bill back in August and said he couldn’t vote for it because it added to the national debt. His criticism of the Build Back Better Act has even been more harsh as he keeps tagging it as “socialist.” Republicans such as Rubio and Scott are eager to lash Democrats over several portions of the bill, including the part that ups the credit cap on state and local property taxes that benefits states such as New York or potential cuts to Florida hospitals. The question is whether the back-and-forth will make a difference in a year.


— WHERE'S RON? — Nothing official scheduled for Gov. DeSantis.


PROGRAMMING NOTE: Florida Playbook will be off for Thanksgiving this Thursday and Friday but back to our normal schedule on Monday, Nov. 29. Please continue to follow POLITICO Florida.


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