Federal government spending of another $50 billion makes some people quiver. President Barack Obama recently proposed a $50 billion plan to improve roads and other infrastructure in the U.S. The plan has many Republicans screaming “stimulus” again while Obama and other Democrats want to make it clear: This plan is not a stimulus.
CNN’s Jack Cafferty said the plan would include rebuilding 150,000 miles of roads, 4,000 miles of rails and 150 miles of airport runways.
The cost is $50 billion, however, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report verifying that this plan would not increase the national debt. According to the CBO’s report, the plan would pay for itself within a year of implementation.
Obama emphasized that because this was a long-term plan to create jobs with companies like Caterpillar, Vulcan Materials Company and other construction companies that had been hit hard by the recession.
A spokesperson for the American Road & Transportation Builders Association said, “Infrastructure investment creates jobs, improves our global competitiveness, and fuels economic growth.”
With states not willing to spend on infrastructure improvement, many of the construction companies have been forced to lay off thousands of workers. This plan is an effort to put those workers back to work and to grow the companies long term.
The plan will have very little time to get through Congress before the midterm elections. Congress will return from their vacation next week, leave again in a month and stay gone until the midterm elections.
Obama has expressed frustration with Congress’ unwillingness to work quickly, and he will probably be waiting for the bill to crawl through Congress.
Whatever happens in the midterm elections, the president has stressed that he will be ready to get back to work quickly. Americans are wanting quicker recovery from the recession, and the verdict is still out over whether the country is better off now than it was two years ago.
The first test for the Democrats, if they regain command of both houses, or the Republicans, if they can garner a small majority, will be whether they can deliver on their campaign promises and find solutions to put America back to work. Two years from November, Americans will be holding a referendum on their elected officials again, and the party in power will be looked to for answers once again.
As CNN reported, at the end of this calendar month, House Republicans will unveil their governing agenda. It is unclear how many details will be given in the report, but America has heard little from the Republicans so far in the way of a governing plan. They have mainly critiqued the Democrats. The viability of the agenda will greatly affect whether the Republicans will be seen as a party with a plan or a party that is merely just opposed to blocking the Democratic agenda.
Reenergizing the industries that have been hit the hardest will no doubt put Americans back to work. Rebuilding American infrastructure will give Americans jobs both in the long term and the short term since there will be a continued need to maintain infrastructure.
Alex Apple is a freshman political science and journalism major from Nashville, Tenn.