June 29, 2020 2:00 PM, EDT

Mick Mulvaney: Infrastructure Worst Kind of Stimulus

Mick MulvaneyAn economic stimulus plan based on infrastructure could take months, if not years, to have an impact, says former acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. (Kevin Dietsch/Bloomberg News)

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Soon after the pandemic either paralyzed or nearly froze many of the country’s major institutions, this publication reported on sectors vying for federal aid.

The airlines, transit systems and key players within the freight supply chain eventually would receive some degree of assistance from Congress and the White House, even though state and local officials continued to urge the federal system for additional aid.

That explains why the House, led by Democrats, responded with a $3 trillion package that would direct $15 billion for transportation agencies. Republican leaders in the Senate have not endorsed the latest aid package even as transportation agencies insist the aid would help avoid disruptions across their operations.

Eugene Mulero


Former acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is advising against moving quickly on another emergency relief bill, especially if it prioritizes infrastructure projects. During an interview this month with Fox Business, Mulvaney laid out his position: “You can’t buy elections. Look, if you’re going to do a stimulus plan, you do it because it’s economically necessary. Are we in a circumstance, an unusual circumstance now, where you’re going to need extraordinary government activity, probably. Which is why I approved what we did, or I approved of what we did several months back. But you can’t, sort of, do it forever and expect people to reward you with re-election.”

He continued, “Keep in mind, it takes time to get through the system. The worst kind of stimulus that they could be considering right now is infrastructure, which could take months, if not years to actually have an impact. So, no, I think those who are urging caution are probably doing the right thing economically and politically.”


COVID-19 has changed the rules of business, disrupted supply chains and created market volatility. Host Seth Clevenger revisits interviews with a broad range of industry experts and their evolving response to the pandemic. Hear a snippet, above, and get the full program by going to

Mulvaney’s former boss, President Donald Trump, has not proposed an infrastructure plan this summer, despite mentioning a few months back that borrowing $2 trillion would do some good in terms of fixing the surface transportation networks. The president recently was asked about his next term in office, if voters re-elect him in November. His response lacked a vision having to do with infrastructure policy.

“I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington, I think, 17 times. All of a sudden, I’m president of the United States. You know the story. I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our first lady, and I say, ‘This is great.’ But I didn’t know very many people in Washington. It wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York. Now I know everybody. And I have great people in the administration,” the president said.

Separately, House lawmakers are attempting to advance a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package this week. The Senate does not appear ready to tackle such a massive measure at the moment. If Congress cannot advance to the president’s desk any type of infrastructure plan before the elections in the fall, nobody wins.

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The Week Ahead (All times Eastern)

June 30, 2:30 p.m.: The Senate Transportation and Safety Subcommittee meets for a hearing titled, “Safety on Our Roads: Overview of Traffic Safety and [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] Grant Programs.” Witnesses include Chris Peterson, captain with the Lincoln Nebraska Police Department; John Saunders, director of highway safety at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles; and Jane Terry, vice president of government affairs at the National Safety Council.

July 1, 10 a.m.: The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works meets for a hearing titled, “Better, Faster, Cheaper, Smarter, and Stronger: Infrastructure Development Opportunities to Drive Economic Recovery and Resiliency.”

Freight Corridor

Emails show Department of Transportation isn't immune to political controversy.


In proposals to amend the Democrats’ infrastructure package on the House floor, Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) is calling for the removal of a delay to the implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours-of-service final rule.

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According to his official website, Rep. Louie Gohmert was elected to three terms as district judge in Smith County, Texas before constituents elected him to Congress.

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To quote Bobby Brown, “Every little step I make.”

The Last Word

The president does not believe that it’s offensive to note that this virus came from China.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on June 22.

Kayleigh McEnany

We publish weekly when Congress is in session. E-mail with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.

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