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Politics and Government

Katko: 'No regrets' over GOP pushback after infrastructure vote

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Ellen Abbott
/
WRVO News
Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) speaks at a news conference highlighting central New York's share of funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) figures he’ll get a sense this week of the extent of the political backlash caused by his yes vote on the massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan this month. But he said he has no remorse over siding with Democrats on a politically charged piece of legislation.

Katko is one of 13 Republicans who crossed party lines to get President Biden’s infrastructure bill passed. And they’ve been harassed since, by Conservatives, Republicans, and former President Donald Trump, who has often called the 13 House Republicans traitors to their party. There have also been threats against all 13 ever since the vote on November 5.

But Katko won’t get into specifics of any threats, citing a request by Capitol Police.

"I have certainly received my fair share, but that’s all I’m going to say,” Katko said.

Some critics of the crossover Republicans are also urging party leadership to strip the 13 lawmakers from their seats on congressional committees. Katko doesn’t seem too worried about that happening.

"I’m on Kevin McCarthy’s advisory committee, Steve Scalice’s advisory committee, I’m a deputy whip, and I’m on steering committees,” Katko said. “They wouldn’t give me all this responsibility if they didn’t like what I was doing. And they knew from the beginning, based on my district, how I would vote on certain matters. And they still gave me that responsibility."

Beyond what happens in Washington, Katko already faces local political blowback from those who question his conservative credentials. He lost the support of all the local Conservative parties in the 24th Congressional District after voting to impeach Trump earlier this year. And He faces a potential primary next June from DeWitt Republican Tim Ko.

But Katko defends his vote, calling the historic investments in the nation’s physical infrastructure, something that will help central New York.

"It was a commitment I made when I first went to Congress, to do something about infrastructure. I helped write it, I helped shepherd it through and I was very proud to vote for it, and I don’t have any regrets whatsoever,” he said.