During my time in the Senate, I have seen our national debt grow to over $28 trillion, while the U.S. has continued to increase foreign aid by 70 percent over the last decade.

It has always been my imperative to put America’s interests first. This means focusing on funding critical infrastructure projects at home like the I-69 corridor project, rather than in foreign countries. 

Recently, I forced a vote on an amendment to legislation in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that would have cut foreign aid spending by 10 percent across the board. It would have allowed for funds to be saved or redirected back to the taxpayers and spent on projects in their own communities.

Year after year, I’ve also introduced legislation that would redirect one percent of non-infrastructure spending to domestic projects, and ensure more of Kentuckians’ hard earned tax dollars are spent on important projects in your own backyards. 

Despite my persistent efforts, Congress has continued to fail the American people on this issue. Democrats and some Republicans apparently care more about building roads and bridges in Afghanistan than those here at home.

Certainly, an interstate connecting the north and south portions of the United States, that is an essential part of freer markets, fairer trade, and economic growth in North America, and is traveled by thousands of Kentuckians every day, would be a higher priority. 

Historically, Republicans and Democrats could come to agree that roads and bridges, locks, and dams were part of our basic infrastructure and were a priority in this country. The problem this year is that Democrats have redefined infrastructure to include any and all liberal wish list items, forcing us to choose between free college for all, building infrastructure in foreign countries, and building infrastructure at home.

America needs to invest in its infrastructure, but with our national debt growing by the trillions we must find a way to pay for needed projects without incurring additional debt. I am all for new interstates and highways but there has to be a way to pay for it. 

Democrats on the other hand, have no plan to cover the cost of any of this, other than imposing higher taxes on American families and mortgaging the debt on our children and grandchildren. 

At some point we have to stop recklessly spending and evaluate where we can cut costs to supplement our country’s needs. 

Last year, over $54 billion was wasted on projects like studying lizards running on a treadmill, testing if hot tubbing can lower stress, and sending Russians to American community colleges for a “gap year”. 

If we cut this kind of ridiculous spending, we could easily fund our nation’s critical infrastructure projects including the I-69 corridor project. 

I want to ensure Kentucky isn’t hurt or left behind by a Congress that can’t figure out how to put our communities’ needs first. We shouldn’t suffer because Washington is unwilling to cut less-important projects.

It has always been my priority, and will continue to be to ensure your hard-earned tax dollars are directed toward infrastructure projects right here in your communities, not sent overseas or spent on wasteful programs. 

You can read the Op-Ed HERE.