Rep. Jim Himes Urges Bipartisanship on Infrastructure

“In an alternate reality, we might have had a President who tried to bind us together after a divisive election through a bold plan to rebuild and repair our nation’s transportation infrastructure. Sadly, that was not the case. But, there is still time to get this work done on behalf of the American people in a bipartisan way.” — Rep. Jim Himes, Chair of the New Democrat Coalition

Rep. Jim Himes, Chair of the New Democrat Coalition, spoke about the importance of infrastructure on the House Floor during President Trump’s ‘infrastructure week.’

I have the privilege of chairing the New Democrat Coalition, 61 Democratic members who, as challenged as they feel by this President’s positions and behavior, are hoping for that moment when we can work with Republicans. When we can get something done with this president that will be meaningful to our constituents. I know they and many other Democrats will be there for that conversation.

To my conservative, even to my Freedom Caucus friends, there is nothing more conservative than the idea that you keep your house in order and that you invest so that your children can have the kind of prosperity that we were able to experience.

To the President, I would say, “Sir, you seem to be a builder. You seem to have recognized the need for this kind of program when you promised a 1 trillion dollar infrastructure investment. Sir, I would say that if you look at some of our highways that were built in the 1950s, at the entrance ramp to those highways you will see a sign that says the ‘Dwight D. Eisenhower Interstate Highway System.’ Sir, there’s no reason why those signs couldn’t have your name on them.”

So Mr. Speaker, this problem is so urgent, it is so potentially bipartisan in its solution that I want to close with the observation that we need to lift this out of the partisan maw and observe.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we celebrated the Greatest Generation, because 73 years ago yesterday they stormed the beaches of Normandy — and that’s part of why we call them the Greatest Generation. But the other part, and the other reason we call them that, is because they came back to America and they set aside their differences, and they invested in projects like the Interstate Highway System that we all use every day. That’s a big part of why we call them the Greatest Generation. They built our country.

And now that generation looks at us and they have a question. And that question is, “What will you do? What will you do with that legacy that we built for you?” Mr. Speaker, let’s answer that question in a way that will make them proud.”

Watch the full speech here:

New Dems stand ready to find agreement on a plan that brings our infrastructure system into the 21st century and once again makes American businesses the most competitive in the world. New Dem Members sent a letter to Trump proposing a bipartisan package which can be found here.