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Democrats Respond to Trump’s Infrastructure Shift, But an Idea for Credit Is Still Lacking

Oct. 3, 2017 (EIRNS)—Since President Trump’s statement to a Sept. 27 Congressional meeting that he now favors all-public funding for new infrastructure projects in America, Democrats have moved quickly to offer to cooperate with him on it. But ideas about how to provide the public credit for this on a national scale remain, for the most part, vacant posturing.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, defending her willingness to work with Trump in a Sept. 30 interview, said "infrastructure is next" in that area. Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner were interviewed on Washington’s NBC affiliate WRC-TV Monday, volunteering to work with Administration on infrastructure legislation. Kaine proposed a plan that gives the greatest benefit to localities that contribute matching funds toward projects. Warner said the Federal government should not look for public-private partnerships, but rather look for "dedicated funding sources." And the Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee—Carper, Cardin, Sanders, Whitehouse, Merkley, Gillibrand, Booker, Markey, Duckworth and Harris—wrote to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, though this beau geste was simply a request to see the President’s "plan" which they well know he does not have as of now.

More importantly, House Transportation and Infrastructure ranking Democratic member Peter DeFazio of Oregon, met with the White House and gave an interview to the Washington Examiner Oct. 3, saying "I am trying to help the President here, and it sounds like he is coming along." DeFazio is one of the very few in Congress who have spelled out workable proposals, to issue bonds against future excise taxes (including gasoline, port, and lock-and-dam excises), and invest at least tens of billions in modern transportation infrastructure. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) is proposing a 1% freight excise to be used in the same way. Along with DeFazio, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) told the Examiner,

"I am really happy to see the President the past month or so is starting to reach out.... I am more hopeful in a bipartisan infrastructure plan than I have been since the beginning of the year."

Lipinski added, "I am cautiously optimistic we get a deal done this year."

All are sponsors of H.R. 790, to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act; but what is needed is the package that EIR Founding Editor Lyndon LaRouche calls the "Four Laws To Save the Nation." In particular, a concept of a "Hamiltonian" national bank for infrastructure and manufacturing, which can actually issue the trillions in Federal credit required over time to build the urgently needed projects, is not yet in evidence either in Congress or in the White House.