President Barack Obama has requested $50 billion in stimulus spending on the nation's infrastructure, claiming that an overhaul of America's roads, bridges and railways can help create jobs and boost the economy.
According to media reports, Obama proposed a six-year plan on Oct. 6 that would improve an infrastructure that, he says, is "woefully inefficient" and "outdated." The President said the overhaul would rebuild 150,000 miles of roads, lay and maintain 4,000 miles of railways and restore 150 miles of runways. He also called for the creation of a national high-speed rail network and an electric grid focused on clean energy.
Obama first introduced the infrastructure package in September when he also called for $130 billion in tax cuts and write-offs for businesses, and a $30 billion small business lending bill. According to TalkRadioNews.com, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) criticized the proposal, saying that government spending is one of the reasons why the economy is struggling to create new jobs.
Obama's stimulus plan would need approval from Congress, which is currently in recess to campaign for November's midterm elections. According to the Los Angeles Times, a GOP aide questioned Obama's timing, suggesting that the proposal should have been unveiled before legislators left Washington.
"Because the November lame-duck session is all booked up, the very earliest the Senate could consider the President's proposal now would be December," Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), told the news source. "And that's assuming that the committees could [or] would want to act in time — a huge 'if'."