White House

Manufacturers urge Trump to tackle infrastructure

President Donald Trump, fifth from right, accompanied by from left, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., Vice President Mike Pence, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, speaks during a news conference after after participating in a Congressional Republican Leadership Retreat at Camp David, Md., Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.
President Donald Trump, fifth from right, accompanied by from left, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., Vice President Mike Pence, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, speaks during a news conference after after participating in a Congressional Republican Leadership Retreat at Camp David, Md., Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. AP

America’s manufacturers are urging President Donald Trump to make good on a campaign promise to find money to repair the nation’s highways, airports, dams and bridges.

The National Association of Manufacturers, which represents 12 million people, sent Trump a letter Monday asking him to move forward on a bipartisan proposal, according to a letter obtained by McClatchy.

“The infrastructure investments of the 1950s and 1960s brought tremendous economic benefits, built strong communities, improved productivity and competitiveness and allowed manufacturing to grow and put people to work in solid middle-class jobs,” said Jay Timmons, NAM’s president and CEO. “Today, however, as more and more of our infrastructure crumbles, it is not keeping up with modern demands for safety and innovation, nor is it giving American workers the tools they need to compete with the rest of the world.”

The letter comes after Trump hosted Republican leaders at Camp David to discuss the party’s legislative priorities before the midterm elections, which could include action on an infrastructure plan as well as welfare reform.

While campaigning for president, Trump promised a job-creating $1 trillion infrastructure bill within his first 100 days in office. But that aggressive goal was not met. His first budget proposal did include $200 billion for infrastructure.

Now, manufacturers who praised Trump for the tax reform bill that Republicans passed late last year want the president and GOP leaders to take up infrastructure.

But Trump may find opposition with some Republicans who may oppose new government spending and Democrats who may not want to work with Trump, especially after the success of the GOP tax bill. Last year, Senate Democrats proposed their own $1 trillion plan to fund infrastructure projects over a 10-year period. Democrats say their proposal would create more than 15 million jobs.

Senate Democrats present a $1 trillion infrastructure bill for the nation's roads, airports, bridges and seaports, which they say would create 15 million jobs over 10 years. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called on President

The spending plans are similar but Trump talked of paying for the plan with tax credits and public-private partnerships while Democrats suggested using federal dollars.

NAM’s proposal, Building to Win, calls for ending funding uncertainty and streamlining the permitting process, we well as other goals:

  • Shore up the Highway Trust Fund with a reliable, user-based, long-term funding stream.
  • Spend the $9 billion balance in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to deepen ports and harbors.
  • Quickly upgrade aging locks and dams.
  • Eliminate the maintenance backlog of transit and passenger rail systems.
  • Develop a plan to accelerate the implementation of NextGen air traffic management technology
  • Find incentives to continue record levels of private capital reinvestment into railroad infrastructure
  • Promote new pipeline investments.
  • Upgrade and modernize drinking and wastewater infrastructure.
  • Develop broadband infrastructure.

Trump reportedly told Republican leaders at Camp David that using public–private partnerships is not an effective way to fund infrastructure projects, despite urging them to do so during the campaign.

On Friday, Trump tweeted his support for a proposal by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to pay for infrastructure projects with foreign aid withheld from Pakistan.

NAM is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states.

 

Anita Kumar: 202-383-6017, @anitakumar01

Franco Ordoñez: 202-383-6155, @francoordonez

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