Representative Mikie Sherrill, Democrat of New Jersey, wants to tackle the Gateway railroad tunnel beneath the Hudson River. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, has suggested that certainly the “functionally obsolete” Brent Spence Bridge in his state should get funding. And innovative lawmakers have a five-part wish list which includes lowering drug prices and providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers.
If you want to get broad bipartisan support, you invite others to have some input into the process, said Senator Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, who directs the Environment and Public Works Committee. “ Every senator has shared with us the priorities of the states. We’re getting great ideas. ”
Representative Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon, the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the committee’s top Republican, Representative Sam Graves of Missouri, will also be asking lawmakers to identify priorities in their districts.
Ive been called the tunnel-obsessed congresswoman, Ms. Sherrill stated in an interview. “The Gateway Tunnel is the country ’s most important part of infrastructure given the amount of people who go through the Hudson River tunnels, how decrepit they are and the economic blow we’d take if those tunnels dropped in any manner. ”
While infrastructure has long been hailed as the coverage field with the ripest prospects for bipartisan cooperation, Congress has failed in recent years to agree on legislation that would finance long-term transport projects beyond routine reauthorization of funding.
With Democrats newly in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, Mr. Biden is thinking much larger. His proposal includes not just trillions in paying for highways, bridges and other physical facilities, but also huge new investments in areas that have not traditionally been viewed as infrastructure, such as paid leave and child care.
That view, which critics say is overly expansive and some progressives state needs to be larger, has emboldened lawmakers in both chambers to attempt and use the package to accomplish all manner of policy priorities.