In the absence of President Donald Trump’s long-hyped infrastructure package, House Democrats released their own plan. On Wednesday, with networks buzzing over resignation rumors from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the New Democrat Coalition laid out their vision to revitalize the country’s infrastructure.
“The New Democrat Coalition is determined to increase long-term federal investments in infrastructure improvements,” the document says. “For too long, Congress has relied on irresponsible, stop-gap measures that hinder economic growth and make it more difficult to ship American products domestically and overseas.”
Helmed by Democratic Rep. John Delaney (Md.), Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Del. Stacey Plaskett (D- U.S. Virgin Islands) and Rep. Norma Torres (D- Calif.), the group’s “21st Century Infrastructure Task Force” crafted a set of principles that was then endorsed by the full committee.
The principles emphasize streamlining the construction permitting process, expanding the definition of infrastructure, and fostering partnerships between the private and public sectors. The group proposes using revenue from repatriation (the taxing of corporate earnings stashed overseas when they return to the U.S.) to further fund the Highway Trust Fund.
Although the President campaigned heavily on infrastructure, with the White House outlining a brief vision in its budget request earlier this year, the topic fell to the back-burner amid a slew of natural disasters. To avoid a government shutdown, Trump struck a deal with Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer to raise the debt ceiling and fund disaster relief.
Infrastructure is often touted as a bipartisan issue. However, the New Democrat Coalition’s plan could face severe Republican resistance, especially if it involves raising repatriation taxes. With a tax plan intended to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, Republicans aren’t likely to embrace a Democrat-led proposal that sees taxes surge in other areas, especially when they control both the House and Senate.
Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to “Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer” as “House Minority leader Chuck Schumer.”