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 McConnellKey House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills Biden: 'No party should have too much power' Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing White House, Democrats strike tentative deal to create Space Force in exchange for federal parental leave benefits: report Trump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyDemocrat who opposed Trump, Clinton impeachment inquiries faces big test CNN Pelosi town hall finishes third in cable news ratings race, draws 1.6M Economy adds 266K jobs in November, blowing past expectations 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 National Guard names victims of helicopter crash National Guard helicopter crash kills three Minnesota sues Juul over rise in youth vaping 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 TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades 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 JohnsonTrump, GOP shift focus from alleged surveillance abuse to Durham Russia probe Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump GOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties MORE (R-Wis.) recently told The Hill.