Their ads, focused on Kentucky and Ohio, included children singing “America’s bridges falling down, all around the country,” to the tune of the song “London Bridge is Falling Down.” A narrator warned:
The average age of a U.S. bridge is 45 years, dangerously close to the life span of 50 years. More than a quarter of our bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Because of tight budgets, bridge maintenance is in jeopardy. and if Republican leaders in Congress have their way those budgets will get cut even more. Text “Bridge” to 69866 and let Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell know we need a real highway bill to save our bridges and our lives.
This got the attention of McConnell’s staff, who posted a refutation on his campaign website. McConnell professed his support for the highway bill and slammed Laborers for its support of Democratic candidates and the “radical” Occupy movement.
“Contrary to the assertion in the ads,” McConnell’s staff claimed, “Senator McConnell has been working to pass the highway bill in the U.S. Senate, which is currently slated for a vote on final passage next week.” A McConnell spokesman also told a Louisville, Kentucky radio station that the minority leader was working with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to pass the highway bill.
Just before the vote, McConnell took to the senate floor and praised the lead sponsors, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) for their bipartisan effort. “They have worked together in a collegial way to bring us to this point on the highway bill,” he raved.
Moments later, McConnell joined 21 other Republicans — and no Democrats — in voting against the bill. The House is expected to take up a similar version in April, rather than the far inferior House Republican version.
McConnell’s office did not respond to a request for comment on why he voted against a bill he’d pledged to support and no explanations were apparent on his senate or campaign websites. But it would certainly appear that the Republican leader owes the Laborers an apology.