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 McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems prep for Mueller report's release McConnell touts Trump support, Supreme Court fights in reelection video Why Ken Cuccinelli should be Trump's choice for DHS MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer slams Justice Dept over 'pre-damage control' on Mueller report Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders welcomes fight with Trump over 'Medicare for all' | DOJ attorney in ObamaCare case leaving | NYC mayor defends vaccination mandate | Ohio gov signs 'heartbeat' abortion bill Dems see room for Abrams in crowded presidential field MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Pelosi accuses Barr of 'single-minded effort' to protect Trump against Mueller report Dems attack Barr's credibility after report of White House briefings on Mueller findings MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyWatchdog: Custodial staff alleged sexual harassment in lawmakers' offices John Legend, Chrissy Teigen lash out at Trump at Dem retreat Republicans call for ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be referred to DOJ 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 House votes to allow driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants Minnesota governor announces goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050 Minnesota governor rips lawmaker for saying gun control backers should be ‘run over' 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 TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report 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 JohnsonGOP senators double down on demand for Clinton email probe documents Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks McConnell: 'Past time' for immigration-border security deal MORE (R-Wis.) recently told The Hill.