Newton’s success won’t be because of Jerry Moran

If Newton succeeds in becoming a passenger rail hub, it won't be thanks to Jerry Moran.



August 11, 2021 - 8:23 AM

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran Photo by Kansas Reflector

We’ve written a good number of editorials about the exciting prospect of Newton becoming a passenger rail hub. The hope took a step forward Tuesday with the expected passage of a bipartisan infrastructure bill through the Senate.

That bill would pay for the connection of the Southwest Chief and the Heartland Flyer, making Newton an important layover location and bringing the promise of economic benefit to the city’s downtown.

If the bill passes the House and becomes law, there will, no doubt, be a ribbon-cutting and celebration in Newton, with dignitaries galore crowing about how great it is.

But take Sen. Jerry Moran’s appearance, should he show up, with a grain of salt.

After negotiating the infrastructure bill, pushing for concessions, getting concessions, and endorsing the bill’s framework, Moran announced Monday that he wouldn’t vote for it.

The bill had the votes to pass without Moran, and Moran is up for re-election. Donald Trump, who still controls the GOP despite not holding office, made his displeasure with the plan and Republicans who vote for it clear on Sunday. Moran has been the target of conservative ad buys encouraging him not to support the bill.

Get what you want, keep your name off of it. That’s politics.

Moran’s 11th-hour statement on the bill includes reasoning that the bill adds too much onto national debt, an estimated $256 billion over a decade.

“Too much spending, too much debt, and too much inflation,” he stated, explaining why he couldn’t support the bill.

Yet Moran pushed against provisions in the bill to bring in revenue, such as beefing up the IRS to prevent tax cheats, estimated to bring in $100 billion according to Reuters and CNBC. 

The GOP senators negotiating the infrastructure bill also managed to get an increase of taxes on corporations removed. The increase, from 21% to 28%, still would have kept the rate below 2018 levels. Apparently, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk need all the money they can get for their rocket measuring contest.

In short, the current infrastructure bill would have been far closer to revenue neutral had Moran & Company not negotiated those provisions out of the bill.

Now having got the concessions to make the bill less fiscally responsible, Moran said it has too much spending and debt.

“My efforts to reach a compromise were honest and sincere, and unfortunately, we were unable to arrive at a bill I could support,” Moran said. 

Thankfully for Newton and the state, some of the other members of the GOP negotiating the deal happened to be a bit more sincere, and the bill passed. 

Kansas stands to gain $2.6 billion for highways, $255 million for bridges, and $100 million for rural broadband access, according to the Kansas City Star.

Perhaps it’s not fair to pick only on Moran. Sen. Roger Marshall has been against helping Kansas with the bill’s passage from the start.

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