AFL-CIO, Chamber release joint statement to push infrastructure spending

Two of Washington's biggest rivals released a short joint statement Wednesday to push for more spending on the nation's infrastructure.

In the statement, leaders of the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said they applauded President Obama's call in his State of the Union speech Tuesday to create jobs and grow the economy by rebuilding America's crumbling roads and bridges.

“Whether it is building roads, bridges, high-speed broadband, energy systems and schools, these projects not only create jobs and demand for businesses, they are an investment in building the modern infrastructure our country needs to compete in a global economy," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Tom Donohue, the Chamber's president and CEO. “With the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO standing together to support job creation, we hope that Democrats and Republicans in Congress will also join together to build America’s infrastructure.”

The labor federation and the business group are often in conflict with each other over several issues. The two battle frequently over labor laws and regulations as well as politics: the AFL-CIO campaigned hard for Democrats last year, while the Chamber boosted several Republicans with its outside political spending.

But the two groups have been long-time advocates of the surface reauthorization bill, otherwise known as the highway bill, that stalled in Congress last year. Both could see their constituencies benefit from a renewed focus on infrastructure spending by the federal government.

Trumka and Donohue have met before to talk about their support for more infrastructure spending. Trumka told reporters in September that he and the business group leader had lunch to discuss the issue.