Coalition urges Congress to pass bipartisan infrastructure bill

Coalition urges Congress to pass bipartisan infrastructure bill
© Greg Nash

A coalition of groups is urging House and Senate leadership to pass bipartisan legislation to improve the nation’s infrastructure systems.

“The time is now to pass a bipartisan, comprehensive package that transforms U.S. infrastructure systems beyond the status quo and maintains U.S. competitiveness in a 21st century economy,” reads a letter sent by the Infrastructure Working Group. The group, which includes a range of labor unions and trade associations, is spearheaded by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Associated General Contractors of America.

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The 150 groups that signed on to the letter are calling on Congress to pass infrastructure legislation that increases federal investments in infrastructure, addresses “shortages in key federal infrastructure accounts” and creates opportunities for private investments in infrastructure. 

They want the legislation to “complement and strengthen existing tools” that deliver infrastructure investments and to encourage “active participation among all levels of government and between public and private sectors without shifting federal responsibilities.”

The letter, which is addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act House Dem cites transgender grandson in voting for Equality Act MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGetting serious about infrastructure Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act 'SleepyCreepy Joe' and 'Crazy Bernie': Trump seeks to define 2020 Dems with insults MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution 5 things to watch as Trump, Dems clash over investigations GOP lawmaker: Trump has engaged in multiple actions that 'meet the threshold for impeachment' MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Congressional leaders to launch budget talks with White House RNC chair on Alabama abortion bill: I would have exceptions for rape, incest MORE (R-Calif.), is being sent ahead of a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on Thursday.

That hearing, titled “The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Investing in Our Nation’s Infrastructure Cannot Wait,” is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. It will examine the current state of different infrastructure systems in the U.S.

Those scheduled to testify include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), Minnesota Gov. Tim WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzMinnesota governor signs law making marital rape illegal New governors chart ambitious paths in first 100 days Minnesota House votes to allow driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants MORE (D), former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson.

Democrats and Republicans have both expressed openness to a bipartisan infrastructure package.

Following the midterm elections, Pelosi voiced hope that Congress could pass legislation to build improve U.S infrastructure. 

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens MORE said “both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure.”

But lawmakers have expressed doubt that Congress can agree on how to fund infrastructure investments.

“I think it’s obvious that a lot of our infrastructure is crumbling and needs repairs, but how do you fund it when you’re spending on other things as well?" Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonBarr throws curveball into Senate GOP 'spying' probe Bipartisan group of senators introduce legislation designed to strengthen cybersecurity of voting systems Trump Jr. subpoena spotlights GOP split over Russia probes MORE (R-Wis.) recently told The Hill.