Saturday, June 03, 2017

Ted Lieu's Progressive Infrastructure Plan-- The One Without The Trumpist Toll Roads


As if he was't busy enough holding the Trump Regime accountable for Putin-Gate, Ted Lieu was tasked by the Congressional Progressive Caucus to come up with an modern day infrastructure plan that could garner widespread support across the political spectrum. Maybe he's living in an alternative universe with more hours in the day than the rest of us, but he's plan is being widely heralded as brilliant and ready-made for Trump if he really does want to put America first.

The 21st Century New Deal For Jobs and the accompanying House Concurrent Resolution already has 33 co-sponsors, not just progressives like Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Jerry Nadler (NY) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) but also some conservatives like Ann Kuster (New Dem-NH), Colleen Hanabusa (New Dem-HI) and Val Demings (New Dem-FL).

Ted explained why Trump should ditch his own inadequate plan and adopt the 21st Century New Deal For Jobs. "America’s infrastructure is desperately in need of repair," he said. "This year, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated $4.6 trillion in infrastructure needs, of which more than $2 trillion did not have estimated funding. The American people deserve to have a serious conversation about how to address these needs. To fund infrastructure projects, President Trump's relatively small and incoherent plan would use irresponsible tax gimmicks that benefit Wall Street at the expense of taxpayers. My colleagues and I know that Americans cannot afford to settle for this scam. Instead, we have introduced the 21st Century New Deal for Jobs to ensure that Congress boldly addresses our infrastructure needs and supports a plan that creates millions of jobs without sacrificing protections for workers and the environment."

Pocan added, "Democrats are leading the way for millions of jobs. Donald Trump wants to sell off our roads to foreign governments and give taxpayer dollars to Wall Street billionaires, and he calls that job creation? Maybe that will create jobs in countries like Russia, but not for hard-working Americans. Democrats are determined to take this fight to the people. Our country is in dire need of a bold vision to repair our crumbling roads and bridges, clean our air and water, restore our children's unsafe school buildings, and connect our communities to each other with high-speed rail and internet. While President Trump and the Republicans are busy concocting a trillion-dollar Wall Street giveaway under the guise of infrastructure, Democrats believe big corporations should pay their fair share to support dignified employment and build a more sustainable and vibrant economy for everyone."

That's generally the kind of response Ted's plan has been getting. Grijalva noted that "It provides significant investments to address the current needs of our country, such as modernizing our outdated schools and replacing our lead-ridden pipelines that have destroyed the public health of children in Flint. The plan creates millions of forward-thinking jobs and ensures nobody is forced to compromise their living standards or working conditions. It sets fundamental principles of social, racial, and environmental justice so our infrastructure planning workforce reflects the needs of our diverse communities. More importantly, it commits public money for the public good. I am proud to support the 21st Century New Deal for Jobs plan to meet the real economic and infrastructure needs of our country." And Pramila Jayapal let her Seattle constituents know that "Trump’s cruel budget eliminates billions in funds that invest in our transportation, air quality and safety. In stark contrast to Trump’s misguided values, we at the Congressional Progressive Caucus have prioritized infrastructure to ensure success for our communities. The 21st Century New Deal for Jobs plan will modernize and prepare workers for our changing economy. Day in and day out, our children, families and communities rely on safe school buildings, up-to-date transportation, secure roads and bridges and a steady paycheck. By upgrading our infrastructure, creating jobs and training workers for careers in clean energy, water and transportation, this New Deal will help our nation thrive."

Ro Khanna, who represents Silicon Valley pointed out that "Expanding vital internet service supports the progressive vision of 21st Century America. The CPC’s plan will expand economic opportunity by bringing high-speed Internet access to all Americans-- including new access for rural communities and incentives to increase adoption in low-income communities. By doing so, we will help create millions of new jobs and start-ups in rural America, in tribal areas, and in urban centers that have yet to see the gains of the technology revolution."

Blue America asked the candidates we've endorsed this cycle, and the ones we're in the process of getting to know, if they would be inclined to co-sponsor Ted's resolution. Everyone was very enthusiastic and said they are indeed inclined to sign on as co-sponsors. The first candidate to get back to me isn't technically a candidate yet. As the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, Wisconsin iron worker Randy Bryce is about to launch a campaign against Paul Ryan. He told me he'd like to co-sponsor Ted Lieu's bill. "America's infrastructure made America great. It turned us into a superpower. Not only does the entirety of commerce depend upon a solid infrastructure, but, I can talk firsthand about how many hours of work I have done on it which provided a means to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. Currently our infrastructure is in a shambles. We can't afford one more bridge to collapse due to neglect. Workers need good paying family supporting jobs. What better way to put us back to work than by rebuilding America? It's time to reinvest in America. Further neglect is not an option."

Goal Thermometer Tom Guild, a dedicated Berniecrat running for a red Oklahoma seat against Trumpist Steve Russell told me he's "happy to co-sponsor the 21st Century New Deal for Jobs via the House Concurrent Resolution." His assessment is that Ted's plan "would take care of the vast majority of needed infrastructure upgrades and repairs necessary to bring America into the 21st century. It is no secret that our infrastructure has been crumbling for decades. We need a plan that creates millions of good paying jobs for workers who will be protected, as we also protect our environment. America desperately needs to repair its crumbling roads and bridges, clean its air and water, rebuild its unsafe school buildings, and connect its communities to each other with high-speed rail and internet. President Trump and the congressional Republicans propose a trillion dollar Wall Street giveaway under the guise of infrastructure repair. Big business would receive a huge windfall and big corporate fat cats would laugh all the way to the bank, some of the same big banks that they own. Working Americans would get the short end of the stick and our infrastructure needs would still be unmet. The 21st Century New Deal for Jobs will prepare workers for our changing economy. Safe schools, modern transportation systems, functional, usable, and safe roads and bridges are a must for a thriving economy and a badly needed comeback of the vanishing middle class. The New Deal for Jobs will create good paying jobs for working Americans, protect the environment, and meet the needs for decades to come of upgrading our infrastructure. Let’s get this legislation passed quickly, because as my high school football coach always said, "Time’s a wastin'."

This morning I woke up to a full e-mail box. All the Blue America candidates want to be sponsors of Ted Lieu's resolution. Here are a few more comments. Jason Westin is running for the Harris County, Texas seat held by knee-jerk Republican John Culberson. "Rebuilding our infrastructure is a key issue in Houston," he wrote. "In 2012, career politician John Culberson over-ruled the voters and Houston Metro's plan to expand mass transit. I'm a fierce advocate of investment in infrastructure to create millions of good jobs, to modernize our transportation networks, reinvest in schools to ensure our children have opportunities to succeed, and to ensure high speed internet access so all can benefit from our increasingly connected society. These long overdue improvements will make our communities better places to live in the 21st century."

Katie Hill in running for a southern California seat also represented by a knee jerk Republican, Steve Knight. She wrote that she "would absolutely support Congressman Ted Lieu's 21st Century New Deal For Jobs. Investment in infrastructure is not only desperately needed from an engineering standpoint, but from an economic standpoint. This plan is truly a grassroots approach to putting Americans to work on local projects for the benefit of themselves and of their communities. We have the opportunity to rebuild and invest in cleaner, safer transportation, energy and water systems, while elevating the economic status of some of our nations most struggling communities. I hope President Trump was serious when he said he was looking to put Americans back to work and to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. The 21st century new deal is a plan of, by and for the people, as it should be!"

And Kia Hamadamchy is one of several excellent Democrats running for the Orange County seat that Mimi Walters refuses to move into but claims to represent. He also wrote that he "would absolutely cosponsor Congressman Lieu's proposed legislation. There was a time when the United States led the world when it came to our infrastructure. We were the country that everyone used to look to and now we've fallen far behind. Its long past time we started investing in our future again and the 21st Century New Deal For Jobs represents precisely the kind of investment we need."

David Gill is running for the downstate Illinois seat occupied by GOP do-nothing backbencher Rod Davis We kind of knew he'd be a fan of Ted's resolution. ""Yes, I would be an enthusiastic co-sponsor of Ted Lieu's progressive infrastructure plan! This is exactly the type of legislation we need today here in America-- it provides good jobs for people AND modernizes our infrastructure, all in one fell swoop. I see this as another plank in a platform designed to bring FDR's Second Bill of Rights to fruition at last, along with single-payer health care and free tuition at public universities. Out on the campaign trail, I see and hear tremendous anger and resentment at our current state of political affairs, and I have no doubt that the backlash is coming next November, and that we truly can achieve the vision laid out by FDR so many decades ago."

Paul Clements, who is making up his mind now whether or not to run against Fred Upton again-- Blue America is encouraging him to-- put it far more succinctly: "Michigan needs the roads, water and energy infrastructure built by Michiganders. I would co-sponsor."

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At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While these individuals may be sincere, you still need to realize that:
1) Rs will never consider them, and the Rs are the only thing that matter now.
2) if the Ds ever regain a majority, THEIR leaders won't allow any such thing to be passed either.

Infrastructure that isn't "tolled" means taxes, and neither sect of the money party will ever pass tax hikes to pay for even one of their wars, much less infrastructure. never happen.

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surrendering the public infrastructure to the "private" for-profit sector will mean a de facto limitation of one's mobility. Few people will be able to afford the exorbitant tolls that profits will require, and the maintenance of said infrastructure will also suffer for the same reason. Just look at the deregulated airlines if you need an example.

But as long as Americans care more about Dancing With the Stars and the Kardashians than they do the proper maintenance of their nation, then I won't be able to care when some fool decides to complain about it later.

At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The toll booths can have electronic readers to scan drivers' 1040s. The lower your taxable income, the higher your tolls. That will get the great unwashed and their crappy cars off the beautiful new highways and onto the crappy old potholed roads more appropriate to their lifestyles.

Now THAT'S a Trumpian toll road!

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

Hey Anboymous number 3, good plan!

Trump will never do anything good for this country. He is making America suck,

At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, we already sucked. we elected him to make that obvious to the world.

World... we suck. period. NOW do you get it?


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