Seeking to deliver on a 2018 campaign "promise of building infrastructure in a green and resilient way," House Democrats have unveiled a $1.5 trillion plan, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls "job creating."
"It's job-creating in its essence, but it's also commerce-promoting – so it grows the economy of our country," Pelosi told reporters Thursday, unveiling the Moving Forward Act.
Pelosi hailed the work of House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., as the "maestro" of the initiative, which focuses on repairing roads, building bridges, and expanding broadband access in rural areas.
"Those who don't believe in climate change, tough luck," Rep. DeFazio said. "We're going to deal with it.
"Republicans have been a bit critical at points during the mark up and saying this is Green New Deal 2.0. This is the application of the principles of the Green New Deal. And this proves that we can both deal with climate change, fossil fuel pollution, and actually create millions of new high-paying American jobs. That is the promise of this legislation."
Among the Moving Forward Act spending measures, according to The Hill:
- $500 billion for transportation.
- $100 billion for broadband.
- $100 billion in funding for public housing.
- $70 billion for clean energy projects.
- $25 billion for drinking water.
- $25 billion for the postal service.
House Democrats, seeking 2020 election campaign credit for the bill, shut Republicans out of the crafting of it in the Transportation Committee, as GOP lawmakers branded it the "my way or the highway bill," per The Hill.
"We were not given the opportunity to address any of our priorities in this legislation," Ranking Member Sam Graves, R-Mo., told The Hill, adding it "will leave rural America even further behind, and numerous new green mandates and extreme progressive goals are woven throughout."
Like President Donald Trump, Pelosi billed this as the ideal time for infrastructure overhauls, because of "interest rates where they are now, there's never been a better time for us to go big."
Pelosi added she plans a House vote on the bill before July 4 recess.
"As you know, the Grim Reaper said nothing is ever going any place in the Senate," Pelosi said of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "But there is tremendous interest in the country in building the infrastructure."
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