SOTU's New Kid on the Block: Infrastructure Spending

President Donald Trump delivers a speech to the World Economic Forum, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, in Davos. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump’s first State of the Union address is scheduled for Tuesday and, despite the close-to-histrionic attempts of the increasingly political Alyssa Milano, there is a good reason to watch what is generally a pretty boring, pat-on-the-back kind of affair:


Infrastructure spending.

According to a senior administration official, Trump will be outlining his plan for the forthcoming trillion — that’s right, trillion — dollar infrastructure spending bill.

There will also be some back patting, no doubt. And it’s not gratuitous. Included in the speech — under the rubric of 5 issues the administration believes crucial in “lifting all Americans” — will be a discussion of accomplishments related to the economy (specifically tax reform legislation); immigration (with a nod to the legislative framework the White House released last week); trade (echoing Trump’s speeches at APEC et al); national security; and the newest member of the family, infrastructure.

The White House has framed the infrastructure effort as “rebuilding America” and bi-partisan meetings have already begun. Quite unsurprisingly, there is already debate between Republicans and Democrats over how to fund that much spending, with the former looking to private investment and the latter looking to government coffers.

The price tag is already being discussed in terms of how much support the effort might receive during a midterm election year:


Passing an infrastructure bill in the Republican-controlled Congress to improve U.S. infrastructure like roads, airports, ports and railways, will likely require support from the Democratic party in the Senate where Republicans only have a slender majority.

Some Democrats have expressed a desire to see a bill passed, but mid-term congressional elections in November this year could make the politics of a bipartisan effort difficult.

Congress would need to find a way to fund an expensive infrastructure package and the cost could cause both Democrats and Republicans to oppose the legislation.

Trump’s Tuesday SOTU address will hopefully sort out and clarify some of the details on what’s desired in an infrastructure package and the White House’s role in bringing the two sides together to meet those goals. The speech should be worth a watch for that reason alone.

Or you could tune in to Milano’s dream videos. There will be a lot to learn over there, too. None of it very useful, but revealing nonetheless.


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