Members and guests of the Rotary Club on Post Road in Warwick got the opportunity to talk with Senator Jack Reed, a Cranston native, and hear more about the goings-on in Washington this past …
Members and guests of the Rotary Club on Post Road in Warwick got the opportunity to talk with Senator Jack Reed, a Cranston native, and hear more about the goings-on in Washington this past Thursday.
Reed touched upon topics including funding for local projects, affordable housing, the holds on military approvals placed by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), the war in Ukraine, threats posed by Russia and China and the health of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
On a local level, Reed noted that with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding expiring next year, local programs that rely on that money could be significantly affected.
“Those are judgements at the state level,” Reed said. “They have all their insights of what they should do or shouldn’t do.”
Reed did note that while ARPA funding was set to run out, bills and programs such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIB) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) means that there’s still “significant” funding for local projects.
Reed also touched on the cost of housing in Rhode Island, noting that the rate of construction of single-family homes over the past decade has led to a spike in housing prices.
“People just don’t have a place to go,” Reed said. “So what we hope these states will do with the money they’ve set aside is to start going in and providing an incentive to build modest, first-time homebuyers homes in different areas.”
In regards to Sen. Tuberville, whom Reed has made national news denouncing, Reed said that Tuberville’s actions have been detrimental to national security and members of the U.S. Armed Forces, particularly service members with children.
“These promotions have been scheduled over the years to correspond with summertime because then families can move children to new schools,” Reed said. “Well, guess what? These young families will not be able to do that.”
Reed also said that the hold on confirmations has increased the workload and stress on officers that now have to assume additional duties. Currently, offices including the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and the Chief Naval Officer remain unfilled.
Reed believes that a large part of these issues have arisen due to the health of McConnell, who froze up in public for the second time last week.
While he noted that he’s not a doctor, Reed said that McConnell’s health has been visibly declining, and he “did not come back with the same vigor” after he was hospitalized following a fall in March.
“He is not the same forceful presence as he was before,” Reed said. “I hope he’s OK, but I think this is a really serious problem.”
Reed did also say that despite the challenges, the Senate has also done work, including passing the CHIPS Act and negotiating drug prices for people on Medicare, that he considered “very important” for helping the American people.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Reed said. “But I don’t want to step off and say we haven’t done anything- we’ve done quite a bit.”
One attendee of the talk was Jim Palmisciano. Palmisciano is the chair of the Rhode Island Forward Party, which aims to reduce polarization and promote agreements and compromises among those with different ideologies.
Palmisciano said that what Reed talked about was “inspiring and encouraging,” and that Reed has done a good job of working collaboratively to help build a “more vibrant democracy.”
“Senator Reed has always been a person who will answer the question you asked him, and I absolutely respect that,” Palmisciano said.