A union for construction workers is launching a second round advertisements criticizing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., over the $109 billion highway bill, which has been stalled in the Senate.
The group Laborers’ International Union of North America began the ad campaign in Kentucky last week that highlighted crumbling infrastructure in the state. The new ads will begin airing Tuesday and accuse McConnell of not supporting the measure and urge voters to lobby him in favor of the two-year transportation re-authorization bill.
LIUNA spokeswoman Jaclyn Houser says the country’s roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair, but the Republican leader has helped delay the bill for months.
“We had a bipartisan bill that a lot of people agreed on but got poisoned (and) we saw McConnell as part of the reason that happened. That’s why we’re targeting him in this case. We want him to show leadership, stop playing politics and pass this bill,” she says.
Supporters argue passing the two-year measure will preserve funding levels, save 1.8 million jobs and help create an additional 700,000. Current funding for federal surface transportation programs is set to expire March 31.
The GOP has argued Democrats are denying them the right to offer amendments and Republicans have attempted to offer a number of changes critics says are unrelated to transportation policy that have helped delay the bill.
Senate Democrats have successfully blocked all but one from the floor—Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who was able to attach an amendment banning the birth control mandate in President Obama’s health care law, which failed to pass but further stalled the highway legislation.
Political observers note that the bill is popular in the GOP caucus, but speculate that McConnell is delaying the measure to give his counterpart, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., more time to draft a similar bill.
A McConnell spokesperson told WFPL the Senator has been working with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nv., to pass the highway bill and point to reports of ongoing negotiations between the two.
But Kentucky’s senior Senator has taken an offensive posture in the face of the criticism as well. On his re-election website, McConnell’s campaign has pushed back against LIUNA, accusing the labor group of working with the radical “Occupy (Wall Street)” protestors and neglected its own worker’s pensions.
The Senate is expected to take up the bill Tuesday.