Dems release own infrastructure principles in absence of Trump plan

Dems release own infrastructure principles in absence of Trump plan
© Getty

A group of House Democrats released their own set of infrastructure principles Wednesday, as the White House has yet to unveil more details about Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure package.

The New Democrat Coalition laid out three major steps Congress should take to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure: fund it, fix it and foster it.

The group prefers to use the revenue from repatriation, or taxing corporate earnings stashed overseas when it returns to the U.S., to upgrade U.S. infrastructure. They also want to see robust, long-term funding for the Highway Trust Fund.

The principles were crafted by the “21st Century Infrastructure Task Force," which is lead by Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-U.S. Virgin Islands) and Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.). The document was then endorsed by the full committee.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The New Democrat Coalition is determined to increase long-term federal investments in infrastructure improvements,” the document says. “For too long, Congress has relied on irresponsible, stop-gap measures that hinder economic growth and make it more difficult to ship American products domestically and overseas.”

The principles also put a heavy emphasis on streamlining the construction permitting process, expanding the definition of infrastructure and encouraging more public-private partnerships.

The document’s release comes as Trump’s promised infrastructure proposal, once billed as a priority for his first hundred days in office, has slid down the agenda.

The White House outlined a brief sketch of Trump’s infrastructure vision in his budget request earlier this year, vowing to release more details in the third quarter or early fall.

But the administration has yet to release any further guidance on the plan, though some lawmakers are hoping it will come soon.

“We’ve seen their outline, but that’s continuing to be adjusted,” Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told reporters Tuesday. “We hope they’re going to make it public in the next week or so. It will be more of an outline of principles, so we can move forward and put meat on the bones.”

Trump has also walked back on the idea of emphasizing public-private partnerships in his plan, raising new questions about how the proposal will be paid for and whether Republicans will be on board with the rebuilding effort.

“I don’t think it’s possible to do a bill that doesn’t have a mixture. It’s an all-of-the-above solution … [public-private partnerships] are a piece of a puzzle. States are contributing, they’re partnering,” Shuster said. “All of us working together is I think how we get to the $1 trillion number.”