When Democrats swept into control of the House after the 2018 midterms, they promised that an infrastructure bill would be their top priority. Indeed, quickly after assuming the gavel in early 2019, it was reported that Democratic leadership was reserving floor time in late spring for an Infrastructure bill. It’s almost 2020. No such bill has even been introduced in committee, much less made its way to the floor.
The President has the opportunity to both expose their political failing and turn our focus to an issue that has been important to him for a long time: infrastructure.
What happened? Impeachment, that’s what.
First, it was the Mueller report and the Russia hoax. When that failed, it was on to the Ukraine hoax. All the while, Democrats, firm in the belief they can walk and chew gum at the same time, have swatted away concerns that impeachment is grinding legislation and the actual work of government to a halt.
They can’t, of course, and it’s time for President Trump to call their bluff.
The American electorate has a right to see done what the Democrats promised voters they would do. And, in this instance, the President can both expose Democrats’ political failures and turn our focus to an issue that has been important to him for a long time: infrastructure.
BLUFFING, OBSTRUCTING, IMPEACHING: DEMOCRATS ARE INTERESTED IN ANYTHING BUT GOVERNING
President Trump has talked about prioritizing infrastructure from the first day of his presidency. Unfortunately, the President’s desire to make critical infrastructure investments didn’t meet with much interest from establishment Republicans in the House and Senate—who instead focused on repealing Obamacare and the successful overhaul of the tax code. One source close to the President went as far as to claim that the President was willing to “spend buckets of money” on an infrastructure plan—which obviously proved unpopular with establishment Republicans.
It is painfully obvious at this point that the Democratic Congress has no plan and no path forward on infrastructure—or much of anything else in the realm of policy-making.
But President Trump had not abandoned his hope to modernize America’s infrastructure. Indeed, some around the President—possibly even the President himself—initially believed that he would find a more willing dance partner on infrastructure with a Democratic-controlled House than a Republican-led one. A Wall Street Journal article, published immediately following the mid-terms, claimed that the President thought the newly appointed Democratic House could deliver the legislative leverage needed for infrastructure reform.
Perhaps this is why the White House has so far deferred to Congress to come up with an infrastructure plan. And while this might have been a reasonable approach earlier in the year, it is painfully obvious at this point that the Democratic Congress has no plan and no path forward on infrastructure—or much of anything else in the realm of policy-making.
The Democrats have abandoned any pretense of governing in favor of an ‘impeachment-first’ strategy—one that is much more about crass partisan politics than it is about the Constitution or the rule of law.
BUILDING AMERICA’S FUTURE
The President is a builder by nature, and he understands infrastructure. A comprehensive infrastructure package would not only play to the President’s strengths and expose the Democrats’ sham, it would—most importantly—rebuild America, grow our economy and create millions of jobs all across the country.
A comprehensive infrastructure package would not only play to the President’s strengths and expose the Democrats’ sham, it would—most importantly—rebuild America.
This is more than an election-year gimmick. We face a staggering infrastructure shortfall, across almost every sector. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, our nation’s infrastructure merits a D+ and it is estimated that the U.S. needs to spend $4.5 trillion by 2025 to improve—among other things—our roads, airports, bridges, and dams, or risk catastrophic failure.
There are easy fixes this White House could support. For starters, the President could throw his support behind the bipartisan Massie/Blumenauer bill that would allow airports to meet the $128 billion in unmet airport infrastructure needs by removing the federal cap on the passenger facility charge (PFC). This wouldn’t require a single additional penny of federal spending.
Of course, there are more complicated issues to tackle—like how to finance the much needed infrastructure investments in roads and bridges, and in how to upgrade the electrical grid and expand high speed internet access. These questions deserve answers—and it is time to show the country that at least one man in Washington is focused on doing the job of governing.
THE VALUE OF A COMPREHENSIVE INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN
President Trump’s first term has been all about promises made, and promises kept. The President can and should add to his impressive list of accomplishments by rolling out a comprehensive infrastructure plan. The Democrats are expecting the President to play defense for the next year. Completely engrossed in impeachment politics, they are wholly unprepared for a debate about something they themselves claimed is a priority for government.
Good thing no politician is better at turning conventional wisdom on its head than Donald Trump. Shifting the focus to domestic infrastructure is not just good policy: it’s good politics.