Democrats in the U.S. Senate are again preparing to present another piece of President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs plan, as a $60 billion infrastructure bill will come up for a vote in November.
Called the Rebuild America Jobs Act, the legislation would provide $10 billion for a national infrastructure bank and $50 billion on transportation projects. The bill would institute a .7 percent tax on annual income above $1 million.
Most of the funding--$27 billion--would go to transportation projects on roads and bridges. The funding will also pay for railways, mass transit and aviation.
What we want people to understand is America is ready to go to work, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican Congressman, said on a Friday conference call with reporters. An infusion of $50 billion will put thousands of people to work next year.
As for the gridlock in the U.S. Senate over the jobs bill, Democrats stressed that the provisions in this proposed legislation has been supported by members of both parties in the past, as well as voters across the political spectrum.
[Senate Republicans] need to break away from the pack and do what their Republican constituents across the country want them to do, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said.
U.S.: A Crumbling Infrastructure
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., recounted the fatal 2007 Minnesota bridge collapse, in which a bridge on an interstate highway fell into the Mississippi River during rush hour.
If that doesn't strike people as a need to upgrade our infrastructure, I don't know what does, she said. It's clear that we need to rebuild our infrastructure.
This would be the second time Democrats are forcing a vote on a piece of Obama's jobs plan. Passage is unlikely, as tax hikes on the wealthy that will pay for the plan are expected to tank the legislation. Republicans, as well as several Democrats, have voted to filibuster the jobs legislation, preventing Democrats who support the measures from getting even close to the 60 votes needed to move bills through the Senate.
The Senate on Thursday defeated a part of Obama's jobs bill that would provide $35 billion to state and local governments to hire teachers, police officers and firefighters.
Three members of the Democratic caucus--Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb.--voted with every Republican to prevent the legislation from moving forward in the Senate, which requires 60 votes to break a filibuster.
That proposal included a 5 percent tax surcharge on adjusted gross income over $1 million per year. Republicans, meanwhile, would rather see domestic spending cuts to pay for the new funding.
Reid said that Senate Republicans have had a love affair for many years now with Grover Norquist, president of the anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform.
They will not touch anything dealing with revenue Nothing, even though they're not in touch with reality or their constituents. But they are in touch with Norquist, Reid said.