"I can't create an island … so the decisions in Washington do matter, but where I used to as a mayor rely on Washington, I'm going to try to come up with different strategies," said Emanuel in a prerecorded interview that aired Monday on CBS's "This Morning."
Emanuel, who served in President Obama's White House, told CBS News that he's had to move ahead with infrastructure projects and repairs on his own, given the inability of lawmakers to reach agreements and provide adequate support.
"I could not wait for Washington to get a highway bill, and even when they get it, it doesn't have everything we need to do, so we made certain decisions that we need to do. That's true about our mass transit system, it's true about our water system, our sewer system … I can't wait for Washington," he said.
After years of political wrangling, President Obama signed a sweeping $105 billion transportation bill Friday. The House-Senate compromise cut back on some environmental reviews and excluded the GOP-backed Keystone pipeline proposals, as well as provisions to restrict federal regulation of coal ash and proposals to fund highway and transportation programs with revenues from expanded oil-and-gas drilling.
“My message to Congress is the same thing I’ve been saying for months now — let’s keep going,” Obama said at the signing of the bill. “Let’s keep finding ways to work together to grow the economy and help put more folks back to work. There’s no excuse for inaction where there’s so many Americans trying to get back on their feet.”
Emanuel blamed ideology for creating an impasse on progress and called for pragmatic solutions and decisionmaking.
"We're doing things in the city of Chicago [that] have nothing to do with philosophy, have nothing to do with ideology, have to do with making sure that taxpayers get and residents get what they deserve," he said.
CBS will air more of its interview with Emanuel later this week, including the mayor's outlook on jobs and the economy.