Dem leader doubles down on calls for infrastructure spending

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The infrastructure bank, DeLauro said in an email, "would leverage private dollars to invest in transportation, water, energy and telecommunications projects with clear economic, environmental, and social benefits." 

"These projects would create middle class jobs that cannot be outsourced while improving our national infrastructure and enabling us to better compete in a global economy," she added. 

The schools legislation, meanwhile, "would address the deterioration of our nation’s schools by providing states and school districts with the funding they need to make much needed maintenance, repairs, components and system replacements, and energy efficiency upgrades," DeLauro said. 

"These investments will help to create jobs, strengthen the economy, and save school districts utility costs while boosting teacher and student morale and performance."

DeLauro's remarks are an indication that, despite the controversy surrounding Democrats' 2009 economic stimulus legislation, Democratic leaders are not backing away from that strategy.

Her comments also highlight the ideological chasm between the parties when it comes to addressing the unstable economy. Democrats believe government should play an active role in pulling the country out of the jobs crisis, while Republicans think Washington should just get out of the way and let private industry fuel the recovery.

Obama, who's scheduled to address a joint session of Congress tonight, is reportedly poised to request $300 billion in new stimulus, including the creation of a national infrastructure bank.

Republican leaders have hammered that plan this week, even before seeing the details.

"A large, deficit-financed, government spending bill was not the best way to improve our economic situation or create sustainable growth in employment," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) wrote in a letter to Obama Tuesday, referring to the 2009 stimulus bill. 

"Given the current unemployment and deficit numbers, we believe our concerns have been validated."