Journal Times editorial: Time is right for agreement on long-needed infrastructure bill
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Journal Times editorial: Time is right for agreement on long-needed infrastructure bill

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Now’s the time for Congress and President Donald Trump to come to agreement on, in Trump’s words, “a very big and bold” infrastructure plan that will put people to work as early as May.

We’ve needed it for years to rebuild roads, bridges and airports all over the country. But we need it now to help us get back to work once coronavirus concerns ease.

After weeks of staying at home jobs will be lost in Wisconsin and elsewhere. New jobs in construction just as the weather improves will give us a boost.

There’s nothing preventing Democrats and Republicans in Washington from doing it, but they can’t do it like the first coronavirus relief act. There’s no time or room for everybody’s pet project.

This should be a jobs bill that moves through the House and Senate swiftly in a bipartisan manner and is signed in a Rose Garden ceremony. Everybody can take the credit.

February seems like ages ago, but just eight weeks ago President Trump included a $2 trillion infrastructure plan in his budget proposal.

Trump, who has been talking about rebuilding America’s infrastructure for years, revisited the topic by tweet after the relief bill passed:

“With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill. It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the one-great infrastructure of our Country.”

At least one Republican, Sen. Jon Barrasso of Wyoming, responded saying a bipartisan highway bill in the Senate is ready to go.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated he was hesitant to approve more big government spending. “We do have to be mindful of how to pay for it,” he said about further aid bills.

Democrats have had infrastructure discussions with Trump in the past, and it was last April when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump and Democrats agreed on the outline of a $2 trillion package.

But a few weeks later Trump walked out of an infrastructure meeting, saying he would not work with Democrats while they were investigating his administration.

Of course, that investigation led to an impeachment and that seems years ago. Everything has changed with a pandemic that’s gripping our society.

Trump has said during his coronavirus press briefings that he favors a “real infrastructure” package to rebuild America that’s overdue.

Democrats should step up and work with the president’s staff to deliver on infrastructure now.

There are many needs and concerns in further helping businesses and governments, increasing testing and better equipping hospitals, but getting people to work on rebuilding roads, bridges and airports can help restart the economy quickly.

While $2 trillion has been discussed, it doesn’t have to be that big to make an impact at a time the country needs it.

This is no time for partisanship that went into and has followed passing the relief act. This is time for leadership.

Act in April and get us moving and rebuilding in a few short weeks.

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