By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, April 17, 2017, US Senator Luther Strange (R) was in Tuscaloosa following the Trump Administration’s $1 billion proposal to revitalize ailing infrastructure nationwide. Senator Strange met with steel workers at the Nucor Plate facility in Tuscaloosa.
Sen. Strange said, “The President’s infrastructure plan has enormous potential to infuse fresh investment and job growth into Alabama manufacturing, and the steel produced here in Tuscaloosa and across the state will be the steel that builds a new generation of bridges and roads across America. I am proud of the hard work being done here in Tuscaloosa, and I am committed to putting domestic producers at the head of the line as we break ground on this exciting new era.”
The Nucor Mill in Tuscaloosa produces, 1.3 million tons of steel every year, is part of a statewide network involving over 3,000 Alabama jobs.
On February 28, 2017 Pres. Trump asked Congress to vote for over $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending. To this point that proposal has not gone anywhere. Democrats have been in full “resistance” mode and have not been willing to work with the Republican President on much of anything…….even issues like infrastructure spending which they ordinarily support. Many conservatives in the Republican Party are opposed to borrowing $1 trillion, when the national debt is already $20 trillion.
According to original reporting by ICIS News, on March 23, 2017, International eChem chairman Paul Hodges said that Pres. Trump’s infrastructure plan is unlikely to be approved because of a legislative bottleneck. Speaking ahead of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers’ (AFPM) conference, Hodges said: “The record of the last few administrations is that Congress can only deal with one topic at a time. At present there is a big battle going on over healthcare and that is getting in the way of tax reform, which was President Trump’s top priority. And as for infrastructure – his third priority – I can’t see Congress getting through three major programs in the next 12 months.” Hodges said the believes that US presidents only really have the first year of their term to achieve major goals and that by 2018 the run up to the mid-term elections will make it very hard to achieve change? “We have to assume infrastructure is dead. There is no magic wand to be waved and the industry has to look at self-help,” says Hodges.
According to original reporting by Politico on April 3, Trump told a group of CEOs: “We’re talking about a very major infrastructure bill for $1 trillion, perhaps even more. We’re going to be very strong that it has to be spent on shovels, not on other programs. If you don’t start, if you have a job that you can’t start within 90 days, we’re not going to give you the money for it.”
A controversial bill, HB487, sponsored by state Representative Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa) to provide the State of Alabama with matching funds for road and bridge work anticipating the possibility of a federal infrastructure bill was pulled on Thursday in the Alabama House of Representatives when bipartisan critics opposed the plan which would have ballooned the State’s debts by over 48 percent.
The failure of the House Republicans to united behind a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare brings into question the likelihood that they could unite on more controversial administration proposals like adding a $trillion in debt for the President’s infrastructure plan or building the border wall.
Sen. Luther Strange was appointed to the Senate by former Governor Robert Bentley after Jeff Sessions was confirmed as Trump’s US Attorney General.