Next Dem Jobs Bill to Focus on InfrastructureOctober 21, 2011 - by Donny Shaw
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will advance the next piece of President Barack Obama’s rejected $447 billion jobs proposal, this time a $60 billion measure funding roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
Reid said he will seek a vote on the package, which would be financed by a 0.7 percent surtax on millionaires, during the week of Oct. 31. […]
The new proposal includes $10 billion to create a national “infrastructure bank” to leverage private and public capital for various projects. Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said the other $50 billion would fund infrastructure projects including $4 billion for rail, $9 billion for transit programs, and $27 billion for road, bridge, freight rail and port projects.
Some Republicans have expressed support for infrastructure bank proposals in the recent past. For example, Sen. John Kerry’s [D, MA] BUILD Act, which would provide government loans to leverage private investemnt in revenue-generating infrastructure projects, is basically identical to the infrastructure bank in the Obama jobs bill, and it has two Republican co-sponsors — Sen. Kay Hutchison [R, TX] and Sen. Lindsey Graham [R, SC]. However, Republicans are solidly against direct government funding of infrastructure projects and the small surtax on income above $1 million, so they’re going to filibuster this just like they did the full bill and the first piece Reid brought up. If there’s more to this jobs push than highlighting the Republicans’ obstructionism, Reid could try Kerry’s infrastructure bank plan on its own next. It’s pretty much the only true jobs bill out there with enough bipartisan support to potentially make it through both chambers anytime soon.