House and Senate Democrats have introduced legislation that would establish a National Infrastructure Bank, similar to what President Obama has proposed in his jobs plan.
On Tuesday, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) offered H.R. 3259, which would create the bank and fund it at $5 billion per year through 2015. Assuming that bill could be approved this year, it would provide $20 billion for the bank — double the initial amount of money the president requested.
Democrats have said any money provided to an infrastructure bank could be leveraged to provide financial support to infrastructure valued at 10 times that initial amount, or more.
“Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, we all have infrastructure that is crumbling, and we have people in our districts who are eager to get back to work,” Fudge said. “This legislation allows us to target the large number of deficient bridges in our communities and other dangerous infrastructure for repair, making travel safer for our residents.”
Fudge said the bill would provide funding for transportation, drinking water and public housing projects. Her bill is the House companion to S. 1550, which Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced in September.
While the bill could move in the Senate, controlled by Democrats, it appears to have little chance of being considered in the House. Republicans in the House continue to insist on spending cuts, and no new federal spending programs. Neither bill provides for any offset in spending to create the infrastructure bank, and instead relies on new appropriations.
Despite Obama’s call for the creation of an infrastructure bank, Fudge’s bill has no House co-sponsors, and Brown’s bill has just one Senate co-sponsor, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.).