President Obama at an Indiana town hall, 2009
(Official White House photo by Pete Souza)
Investment in large-scale transportation projects would be a great way to
, but House Republicans have called for massive cuts
to the federal transportation budget, cuts that would not only forgo job creation but would put us at risk of badly damaged infrastructure requiring more costly repairs in the future.
Sam Stein reports that President Obama is ready to make the case for transportation funding to continue at current levels, at least, and he'll be joined by representatives of two organizations that are only rarely on the same side of an issue:
A White House official tells the Huffington Post that the president will hold an event Wednesday alongside Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Operating Officer David Chavern calling on Congress to pass a "clean extension" of surface transportation funding.
"The president will discuss the importance of moving forward with this extension to protect nearly a million American jobs and highlight the opportunity we have to work in a bipartisan way to further invest in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure to strengthen our economy and create new jobs across the country," the aide said.
Senate Democrats have proposed a shorter-term extension at current funding levels; House Republicans want a 34% cut. The likely outcome is a temporary extension that at least won't make things worse, but innovation and real investment will, yet again, be left out.
This is not the first time in recent months that the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have joined together to call for infrastructure investment. It continues to have shock value. Unfortunately, this is an issue where Republicans are more likely to act on their desire to hurt Obama's reelection chances by further tanking the economy than on their desire to make the Chamber happy.