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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 McConnellMurphy blasts GOP on whistleblower response: 'We're watching this country turn into a banana republic' Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Trump at the United Nations | Ukraine controversy, Iran take center stage | Trump denies threatening military aid to Ukraine on call | Senate Dems to force vote on border emergency McConnell says GOP Intelligence chairman wants to hold closed-door briefing on whistleblower complaint MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerToomey on gun reform: 'Beto O'Rourke is not helping' Schumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMore Democrats threaten impeachment over Trump's dealings with Ukraine Whistleblower fuels impeachment talk Pressure on Pelosi to impeach Trump grows MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Lawmakers say Zuckerberg has agreed to 'cooperate' with antitrust probe 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 WalzOvernight Health Care: CDC warns against using e-cigs after vaping-related deaths | Minnesota reports fourth nationwide death tied to vaping | Top Dem demands FDA chief take action | Marianne Williamson under fire over controversial health remarks Minnesota reports fourth nationwide death tied to vaping Three people shot, one hit by car at Minnesota State Fair 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 TrumpNYT publisher: US didn't step in to protect reporter from arrest in Egypt so paper turned to Ireland Trump instructed administration to withhold military aid for Ukraine days before call with president: report More Democrats threaten impeachment over Trump's dealings with Ukraine 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 senator: Releasing transcript of Trump-Ukraine call would set 'dangerous precedent' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Association of Manufacturers - Trump defends Ukraine motives while attacking Biden Trump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP MORE (R-Wis.) recently told The Hill.