[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]
Infrastructure policy has been receiving a touch of buzz during the impeachment saga thanks in part to the counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway.
In an interview with Chris Wallace, Conway proposed that lawmakers proceed with the people’s business. She suggested these lawmakers advance issues the Trump White House has sought to address, even before the Democrats took over the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Why can’t they vote on [United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement], drug pricing, health care, infrastructure. They’re not doing the people’s business,” Conway told Wallace on Nov. 3. “They’re not doing the people’s business. They’re wasting your money and your time.”
Previously, Conway had delivered a similar call to action, during a meeting with reporters outside of the White House.
“I assume the Democrats are lying to their constituents,” she said Nov. 1. “They said they were coming here to reduce drug prices and get some infrastructure going, and help in Syria. But they’re not. They’re trying to investigate and impeach the president. They’ll need to go home and answer for that.”
She added, “Meanwhile, we’re very busy here doing those things.” (The White House’s infrastructure funding plan unveiled in early 2018 was not picked up by the Republicans in control of Congress.)
Days prior to Conway’s remarks, the top surface transportation policymaker in the Senate had expressed similar frustration with members of the other party.
“Republicans are focused on the sorts of things that actually move the country forward,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, told reporters Oct. 29. His committee advanced a highway reauthorization bill over the summer. “As a result of the Democrats’ obsession, they’re not doing the things that are important, like paying the troops, funding the military. They’re not doing things that are important for all of us, like fixing our roads, fixing our bridges.”
For their part, the Democratic leadership in the House has signaled the possibility of taking up the USMCA deal this fall. Additionally, Barrasso’s counterpart in the House, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) told reporters his version of the highway reauthorization is likely to be unveiled early next year. Taken together, it would seem as if Democrats are walking and chewing gum at the same time.
While Beltway intelligentsia continues to point fingers at one another, a significant number of stakeholders keep asking Congress to advance a meaningful infrastructure funding measure. Most recently, we heard from the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO. As TTD President Larry Willis put it, “By fighting for policies that keep our transportation system well-funded, safe and a creator of good jobs, we can grow the middle class and help rebalance our economy in favor of working families.”
The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)
Nov. 4, 1 p.m.: The Atlantic Council hosts a panel discussion titled, “An Assessment of Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Climate and Energy Policies: Views from Across the Political Spectrum.” Participants include George David Banks, chief policy and communications strategist for the minority at the House Select Climate Crisis Committee; Christy Goldfuss, senior vice president for energy and environment policy at the Center for American Progress; Charles Hernick, policy and advocacy director at Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions; Amos Hochstein, senior vice president for marketing at Tellurian; Zack Colman, energy reporter at Politico Pro.
Nov. 5, 9:30 a.m.: The National Transportation Safety Board examines bicycle safety.
Nov. 5, 1 p.m.: The Office of Personnel Management hosts a meeting of the Federal Salary Council.
Nov. 5, 2:30 p.m.: The Senate Aviation and Space Subcommittee hosts a hearing titled, “Building the Space Workforce of the Future: STEM Engagement for a 21st Century Education.” Witnesses include Shella Condino, physics teacher at Oakton High School; Dr. Josh Gladden, vice chancellor of research at the University of Mississippi; Jeffrey Manber, CEO at Nanoracks; and Linda Tarbox Elkins-Tanton, managing director at the Interplanetary Initiative and principal investigator of NASA Psyche Mission at Arizona State University.
Nov. 6, 10 a.m.: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hosts a hearing on the Growing American Innovation Now (GAIN) Act. Witnesses include Jeff Holmstead, partner at Bracewell; Sean Alteri, deputy commissioner at the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection; and John Walke, clean air director and senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Nov. 6, 6:30 p.m.: The Council on Foreign Relations hosts a book discussion titled, “Building a Resilient Tomorrow: How to Prepare for the Coming Climate Disruption.” Participants include co-author Alice Hill, senior climate change fellow at CFR and former special assistant to former President Barack Obama; co-author Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, director World Resources Institute Sustainable Finance Center and former deputy assistant Treasury secretary for energy and environment; James Lindsay, senior vice president, director of studies and chair at CFR.
Impeachment. What else is there.
In Case You Missed It
Former members of Congress Ryan Costello and Steve Israel have an idea: Work on infrastructure.
The American Public Transportation Association has a new chairwoman in Nuria Fernandez, general manager and CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, Calif. The executive committee voted Oct. 12 during its annual conference in New York.
“This is an exciting and transformational time for public transportation as we continue to make sure tens of millions of Americans get to school, work, or wherever they need to go, while also connecting communities and boosting our nation’s economy,” Fernandez said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Oct. 29 suggested President Donald Trump could choose to allow a shutdown for the purpose of a “diversion” from impeachment proceedings.
The top officer at Boeing broke through the fourth wall and spoke with a member of the audience during his visit to Capitol Hill on Oct. 30.
“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.” — Yogi Berra
"THIS IS MY CITY."— MLB (@MLB) October 31, 2019
What a homecoming for Anthony Rendon. pic.twitter.com/0ll4iXXJsL
The Last Word
To reach agreement on allocations, Senate Republicans must drop their insistence on funding a wasteful wall at the expense of critical domestic programs.
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) on Oct. 31.