The Congressional Progressive Caucus called for even greater investment in America’s infrastructure than President Trump’s $1 trillion plan. The group’s plan invests $2 trillion over 10 years, employing 2.5 million Americans in its first year, to rebuild transportation, water, energy and information systems, while massively overhauling the country’s unsafe and inefficient schools, homes and public buildings.
The 21st Century New Deal for Jobs will “transform the foundations of America’s economy,” the group said.
“Government spending on infrastructure as a share of the economy has fallen to a two-decade low, yet for every $1 invested in public-sector infrastructure, our economy would gain $1.70 back through greater employment and efficiency,” the group said. “A vision for infrastructure that invests our resources in people – a plan that produces millions of family-sustaining jobs, raises living standards, reduces inequality, strengthens education, reduces poverty and cleans our environment – is more urgent than ever.”
The group also throws shade on President’s Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan. “In reality, President Trump and Congressional Republicans are pushing a trillion-dollar corporate giveaway that would create tax incentives for Wall Street to privatize our roads, bridges, sanitation systems and utilities, while raising tolls, fees and bills – all through taxpayer subsidies,” the group said. “Even worse, their approach will leave the infrastructure that we depend on in utter disrepair unless it generates a profit for private investors.”
The 21st Century New Deal for Jobs mandates local hiring in addition to raising the benchmark for locally prevailing wages in each area, increasing infrastructure workers’ paychecks. The proposal further cements its commitment to working people by prioritizing the hiring of veterans and demanding robust Buy America provisions in every federal procurement decision for labor and materials.
“The 21st Century New Deal for Jobs combines strong job and wage growth with the fundamental principles of social and racial justice, targeting employment for those who have been systematically shut out of economic growth,” the group said. “This means that job training and local hiring will reflect the racial and gender diversity of the community’s workforce and those seeking employment. Federal procurement will prioritize minority- and women-owned businesses, cooperatives and employee-owned firms, and community-owned and municipal enterprises. Recognizing the job-creating power of small businesses, we also aim to increase funds awarded through programs such as Historically Underutilized Business Zones.”
It also calls for local and regional planning that considers equity of access to transportation across communities. “The New Deal for Jobs improves Americans’ quality of life by removing toxins like lead and asbestos; revitalizing parks and schools; expanding the supply of safe, decent and affordable housing; ambitiously connecting our entire country through affordable high-speed internet and high-speed rail; cleaning our air and water; and shortening our travels in public transit, cars and planes,” the group stated.
“A program as sweeping and ambitious as the 21st Century New Deal for Jobs must be guided by an ethos of building smart,” the group concluded. “Our plan integrates high-quality planning, cost controls and maintenance into all initiatives while allocating additional human and technical resources to manage community and environmental approval processes. A New Deal for Jobs build-smart philosophy also mandates state-of-the-art security measures to protect America’s electrical grid, dams, broadband networks and other vital infrastructure from cyber- and physical attacks.”
“Too many communities, especially in rural America, are being left behind because of crumbling infrastructure,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.). “We shouldn’t be satisfied by the status quo. In my district alone, we ought to be overhauling roads that are literally falling into the ocean, repairing schools closed due to mold infestation, and connecting the communities that are isolated for lack of high quality broadband. The 21st Century New Deal for Jobs plan will ensure that our country has the infrastructure to compete in the global economy, enable children – and all Americans –- to thrive, while also taking smart steps to rebuild our communities.”
There were no details provided as to how the $200 billion-per-year plan would be budgeted.