Democrats Push Next Piece of Cloward-Piven Jobs Bill: Democratic Party "Infrastructure Spending"
October 21st, 2011
The Wall Street Journal / By COREY BOLES
WASHINGTON—Senate Democratic leaders said they would try to pass legislation to spend $50 billion on infrastructure improvements around the country and provide $10 billion as start-up capital for an infrastructure bank to help fund road and bridge repairs.
The cost would be offset by a 0.7% surtax on incomes of more than $1 million a year, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.). He said he would hold a vote on the legislation the week of Nov. 1, when senators return to Washington after a week-long recess.
It's the second major element of President Barack Obama's job-creation legislation that Democrats will try to move as a stand-alone bill after Senate Republicans blocked the broader package.
On Thursday night, the Senate voted largely along party lines to block the first element of Mr. Obama's jobs proposals that had moved as a separate bill. It would have sent $35 billion to state and local governments to retain and rehire public-sector workers such as teachers and police officers.
The infrastructure bank would receive $10 billion in seed capital to try to leverage private investment in infrastructure projects. Previous Democratic estimates set a goal of drawing $6 in private funding for each dollar of federal spending.
Republicans are likely to oppose the bill. GOP lawmakers have argued that federal spending on stimulus projects isn't an effective way to create jobs. They specifically oppose the tax on millionaires and the creation of the infrastructure bank.
An aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said that GOP leaders support a longer-term renewal of the Surface Transportation Act, the legislation that sets in place the formula for federal contributions to road and bridge repairs.
That program has had to be temporarily renewed by a number of short-term extensions as lawmakers struggle to reach an agreement on a longer-term extension.
The biggest obstacle is that revenue collected by a federal tax on gasoline isn't sufficient to cover the cost of transportation projects covered by the legislation, as it has been in the past, because people are driving less. The parties are divided over how to make up the shortfall.