Praised locally, Katko’s ‘not worried’ about Republican backlash for supporting infrastructure bill

Local Politics

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Congressman John Katko, one of only 13 Republicans to join Democrats in passing the bill, visited Syracuse Hancock International Airport to tout the benefits of the nearly $1 trillion infrastructure spending package.

At home, Katko is being praised for his “yes” vote.

The leaders who joined him at the airport shared all gratitude, including Republican Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon, CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson, Onondaga County Water Authority Executive Director Jeff Brown and CENTRO CEO Brian Schultz, among others.

Back in Washington, DC, the reception is not nearly as warm.

Katko and the other 12 Republicans who supported the bill have been attacked by fellow Republicans.

After his event, Congressman Katko defended his vote. He told NewsChannel 9: “Sometimes, I’ve got to step out against my party and do what’s right for my constituents. I’m going to do that when I need to. Look it: there’s a reason I’m one of the most bipartisan members of Congress. I’m committed to working across the aisle.”

By name, Katko has been called out by loyalists of former President Donald Trump, like Representatives Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

On Twitter, both called out Katko for his votes with Democrats including this infrastructure bill and voting to impeach President Donald Trump after the January 6th insurrection.

Taylor Greene’s tweet included office phone numbers of all 13 Republicans who sided with the Democrats.

Asked directly about the verbal attacks, Katko said, “They’re not going to deter me from what I need to do. What I need to do is what’s right for Central New York.” 

“I know it’s the right thing to do,” said Katko. “I’m not worried about the consequences or anything.”

Those consequences have included threats of violence for some of the 13 Republicans, including death threats against Representative Fred Upton of Michigan.

When asked directly if he received any threats, Katko said, “Capitol Hill Police have advised me not to talk about it… I’ve certainly received my fair share as well but that’s all I’m going to say.”

When asked if former President Donald Trump has too much influence over the Republican Party, Katko said: “I think everyone has different opinions on that. Mine are pretty clear… I think my record speaks on that.”

Katko says “no,” when asked if he’d support Trump in another presidential race.

“The American people are sick of divisiveness and they want to see progress,” said Katko. Alluding to the infrastructure bill, he added: “This is real progress for Central New York and our country.”

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