House Republican calls party backtracking on infrastructural vote 'small amount to be paid' as tensions rise

"At the end of the day, it was all about my district. Is this bill right for my district? And the answer is yes," Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y


After Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., Who voted for a $ 1 trillion infrastructure package last month, had her office filled with angry calls.

He was not alone. Thirteen Republicans who voted for the law were outraged by the right-wing party and former President Donald Trump, who said he would support his opponents. Phone lines were flooded, with some members receiving death threats. In Nassau County, New York, a man has been arrested for allegedly making an apparent death threat against Rep. Andrew Garbarino, R-N.Y., Who voted for the infrastructure package, reports the Associated Press.

The House passes a two-part infrastructure bill

NOV. 6, 202100: 43

Meanwhile, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Has publicly announced the names and phone numbers of GOP House members who voted for the bill, calling them "traitors."

But any such threat did not deter Malliotakis, who said in an interview that he was standing in the polls and believed that the package would be of great benefit to his Conservative-based constituency, which includes Staten Island and southwest Brooklyn.

"I sympathize with my colleagues who have had to put up with some of these scary phone calls. Look, we got a lot of calls here. Most were not specific threats," he said. "It really shows how dangerous and toxic the political situation has become when the elected official receives a threat to the infrastructure - one of the things that everyone loves."

"It is unfortunate, but it is a small amount that I can pay for doing the right thing in my region and across the country," he added.

Traditionally, the use of infrastructure has not caused controversy in a group such as issues such as abortion rights, immigration, or health care. But this is no ordinary political situation. While Trump recently revealed that he has no intention of Malliotakis in an interview with the New York Post, in which he says he still supports him after talking on the phone, the episode shows a major power struggle between Republicans who would like to get bipartisan and those. pretending to be loyal to Trump and viewing such votes as a coup d'etat.

Malliotakis said voting for the package was futile because of the billions of dollars in infrastructure funding that would come to his province, city and region, in particular. He mentioned renovating the wildlife systems affected by Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Ida, completing coastal dynamic projects, upgrading congested highways and modernizing ports and three local airports, among other projects his region will benefit from.

Of the 13 House Republicans who support the bill, six are from New York or neighboring New Jersey.

"This bill is what we need," he said. "For decades local and national leaders have failed to invest in the infrastructure needed to modernize and sustain, keep pace with economic growth and bring it into the 21st century, especially in an aging city like New York.

"We have passed the bill. ... We have months to review it," he added. "And at the end of the day, it was all about my district. Is this debt good for my district? And the answer is yes."

He said much of the backlash was the result of voters' interference with the bill and President Joe Biden's comprehensive public safety and climate program program, the Build Back Better Act, which he opposed. Malliotakis said his office was full of phone calls, many of which, he said, came from voters outside the province, though not all of them were negative.

"I think people were clear enough to see the [phone] number entered by one of my colleagues," he said of Greene, Malliotakis voted for him this year to be stripped of his committee assignments. "There have been a lot of false statements made by that person in particular, false information about this bill, wrong words about this bill, saying that this bill was only 10% of the infrastructure. That is a complete lie. This bill is the infrastructure used."

In New York's 11th constituency, representing Malliotakis, NBC News received a mixed response to his vote as he spoke to nearly a dozen voters. Some were saddened to hear that Malliotakis had voted for the agreement, which links the public safety net and climate law. Some are happy or at least open to the law, which adds $ 555 billion to new spending.

Ahead of Dunkin 'on Staten Island, Gregory DiStefano said he was "very happy" to support the package, saying, "The money that will come will change the world."

"It's time for him to vote in the right way," said Stephen, 73, a Democrat in the region, adding that he felt he should "vote" for Trump's second indictment this year. "But you know, most Staten Island is not like that."

Then, a middle-aged man intervened.

Peter Molinelli, 64, of Staten Islander who supported Malliotakis last year, said he was right with the vote and was willing to give the bill a chance depending on how the money was spent.

"I was surprised, because I thought all Republicans would live together," he said. "But I'm not against it. Because you know? We need infrastructure."

Joan Canu, 71, a former Democrat who described himself as an independent politician, said he applauded Malliotakis for his vote. He said he hoped the bill would provide for projects to better control floods and reduce travel times between the island and New York City as a whole.

"It's a shame they took so much heat with it," he said.

Malliotakis, a former member of the provincial legislature who lost his bid for mayor in 2017, was elected last year after a fierce race against Democra.