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Obamas Infrastructure Record
August 31, 2011

Posted by Matt Dempsey matt_dempsey@epw.senate.gov

 

Obama's Infrastructure Record

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 Inhofe Reaction to Obama's Transportation Budget: I'd like to end with some comments on the President's budget proposal for the highway bill, which was released on Monday.  I was hoping for some positive leadership by the Administration after only paying lip service to our crumbling roads and bridges.  Sadly, the President failed to step up and show any leadership.  He failed to specify how he would pay for his mammoth $556 billion proposal.  Instead he punts, saying his higher trust fund revenue is "a placeholder and do not assume an increase in gas taxes or any specific proposal to offset surface transportation spending. Rather, they are intended to initiate a discussion about how the Administration and Congress could work together on a bipartisan basis to pass a surface transportation reauthorization...." This puts us back in the hole former House Democrats dug last Congress: proposing a huge bill with no way to pay for it.  This is flat out irresponsible.  If he were serious about getting a bill done, he would have either cut spending or said how he is going to pay for it.  I can only call this a setback.  It gives false hope to transportation advocates and leaves Congress in the same box as before the budget was released.  This comes almost exactly 2 years after the failed, so-called stimulus bill, which was sold as having primarily an infrastructure focus, but ended up with only 3 percent of the total going to roads and bridges.  Here we go again.

January 26, 2011 Inhofe Reaction to Obama's State of the Union: I'd like to take a moment to comment on last night's State of the Union.  I have always said that government has three spending responsibilities:  defense, infrastructure, and unfunded mandates.  We've heard President Obama talk about infrastructure before, but there has been little follow through.  For example, the President's so-called Stimulus bill, which was largely sold to the American people as a way to improve our infrastructure, actually spent less than 3 percent on repairing the nation's crumbling roads and bridges.  Another example was this past Labor Day's announcement where he promised a $50 billion plan for infrastructure, but no action ever followed and he never spoke of it again.  In light of this, I was interested to hear him highlight our infrastructure needs again last night.  I hope he actually follows through.  If he is serious this time, I am committed to working with him and Senator Boxer, as I have always done, to address our nation's infrastructure needs.

2010 Obama Labor Day Infrastructure Roll Out "Lousy Idea"

October 14, 2010: OBAMA'S CONFUSION ON INFRASTRUCTURE; Now says: "No such thing as shovel-ready projects" In a New York Times blog post, previewing a Sunday Times interview with President Obama about lessons learned in his first two years in office, an interesting quote stands out: the President now believes, "there's no such thing as shovel-ready projects." How things change.  Indeed, how can one forget the mantra of 2009, when President Obama routinely touted "shovel-ready" projects to sell his stimulus bill (check out this Washington Post article from January 2009).  We look forward to reading the entire Times article on Sunday, but for now, it seems the President can't quite get a handle on what to do about infrastructure.  On Labor Day, the President rolled out a new $50 billion infrastructure policy.  But it was an unserious proposal, flawed in many respects, as members of his party clearly understood.

September 14, 2010 Denver Post Editorial: Editorial:  Political theater or poor policy? Whether or not President Obama's plan to spend $50 billion on transportation is a ploy to help fellow Dems, it's a lousy idea. President Barack Obama's latest plan to spur the economy back to health has rightly found a new group of detractors. This time, though, it's his fellow Democrats, many of whom are locked in tight races, who are saying no. Their rush to say no makes us wonder if the president put forth a serious plan or if this latest blueprint to stimulate the economy, in part by spending $50 billion to rebuild roads, railways and airports, is more political theater than legitimate policy. Several Colorado Democrats who supported past stimulus spending - and at much greater levels - are rejecting the president's proposal.

September 8, 2010: Oklahoman Editorial: Politics apparent in Obama's new economic proposals: DESPERATION wafts from President Obama's new proposals to jump-start the economy - $50 billion in infrastructure spending and $300 billion in tax breaks for business. Coming as they do less than two months before the midterm congressional election, it's hard not to chalk them up to politics.

September 6, 2010: Tulsa World: Inhofe critical of Obama's proposal to spend billions on transportation - WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe on Monday predicted President Obama's latest proposal to spend billions more on transportation and revamp the way certain projects are selected will go nowhere in Congress. Even Democrats will be outraged and view Obama's approach as an attempt to strip authority away from Congress, the Oklahoma Republican said. Inhofe dismissed the significance of the president's announcement, pointing to its timing. "It is all show for the election," he said. As the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Inhofe is a major player on transportation issues in Congress.

Stimulus Bill Provides No Stimulus - Inhofe Says Dems Must Be Held Accountable for Lack of Infrastructure in "Stimulus Bill"

February 10, 2009: Inhofe: Democrats Must Be Held Accountable for Lack of Infrastructure in So-Called "Stimulus Bill" - "Democrats must be held accountable for the lack of infrastructure spending in this massive government spending bill," Senator Inhofe said. "Despite originally being sold as an infrastructure bill, the fact is this bill contains less than 7% for infrastructure in the entire bill. Furthermore, despite all the references to money going to shovel-ready highway and bridge projects, investment in highways comprises only 3% of the package. Through my leadership position on the Environment and Public Works Committee and Armed Services Committee, I know firsthand the link between infrastructure and defense spending, job creation, and a robust economy. Despite reaching across the aisle to propose amendments to strip wasteful spending and replace it with legitimate, job-creating provisions, the Democratic majority clung to their chosen priorities.

January 29, 2009: Inhofe Alarmed About Low Levels of Infrastructure Funding in Stimulus Bills: "Whenever I hear people talk about the stimulus, the first thing they mention is infrastructure and ready to go projects," Inhofe said. "Yet I'm concerned that the amounts of money for infrastructure in both House and Senate Appropriations bills are alarmingly low considering the total package is over $800 billion.  I want to make sure that the stimulus bills adequately fund our deteriorating infrastructure. There needs to be truth in advertising. You can't say the stimulus is an infrastructure investment bill when highway improvement makes up less than 4% of both the House and Senate's proposed packages.





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