In his State of the Union address this week, President Trump called for a bipartisan approach on infrastructure and immigration – policy issues that could define the second year of his Administration before mid-term elections in November.
In his State of the Union address this week, President Trump called for a bipartisan approach on infrastructure and immigration.
The president's address included a proposed 50 percent increase in infrastructure spending compared to a 1 trillion dollar goal stated earlier. (USA Today, Jan. 5). "Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least 1.5 trillion dollars for the new infrastructure investment we need. Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment, to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit," Trump said.
Although the president's comments did not include details about how to fund the infrastructure initiative, he also emphasized the need to reduce the average permitting time for infrastructure projects from 10 years to two – noting that the Empire State Building was built in one year.
Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer commented on the positive economic benefits that such an infrastructure program would bring to the nation. "Modernizing our roads, tunnels, mass transit, drinking water, power grid, and telecommunications systems – in rural and urban areas alike – are vitally important to economic growth, productivity and America's global competitiveness," DeBoer said.
He added, "Real Estate Roundtable members are experienced in addressing the financing, permitting and government partnership issues that frequently slow or stop infrastructure projects. We intend to provide positive feedback and ideas to all policymakers working to facilitate improvements in our nation's infrastructure." (Roundtable Letter on Infrastructure Funding, Jan. 11)
The White House said on Wednesday that it will offer Congress detailed principles on the infrastructure proposal in the coming weeks. (Bloomberg, Feb. 1).
Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer noted that both infrastructure and immigration policies could create more jobs and spur higher wages.
President Trump also made immigration a key focus of his address, proposing a four-point immigration reform and border security framework. A vote may be held next week in Congress on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA, or "Dreamers") immigration program.
The Roundable's DeBoer noted that both infrastructure and immigration policies could create more jobs and spur higher wages. "Pro-growth immigration reform that honors our roots as a nation of immigrants and safeguards our nation's security is also critically important to continue the upward trajectory of our economy," DeBoer stated.
Looming over policy debates on Capitol Hill and a Feb. 8 scheduled expiration of government funding is the nation's debt ceiling, which will be reached in March according to reports this week from the Treasury Department and Congressional Budget Office. The debt ceiling allows the government to finance commitments that have already been made — it does not authorize new spending.
Both reports forecast the government will be unable to meet its debt obligations in March. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday urged congressional leaders to "act promptly" to increase the limit. (Reuters, Jan. 31).
Congressional lawmakers are reportedly working on a fifth Continuing Resolution this fiscal year to fund the government through March 23 — it needs to pass next week to prevent another government shutdown. (BNA, Feb. 1)