President Barack Obama keeps pitching federal activism as a way to rejuvenate the economy and, on a political level, lift his approval ratings. The latest example is his campaign urging Congress to immediately approve more funds for highway and bridge repairs.
He is scheduled to visit the site of the Tappan Zee Bridge renovation project north of New York City Wednesday to make his case. The president is also scheduled to meet with workers in the Washington area Friday to call for more federal funding for infrastructure, which Obama says will start running out soon unless Congress acts.
There is no consensus on Capitol Hill about what to do, but a White House spokesman told reporters, "The most important thing is that we pass a long-term bill that creates jobs and provides certainty for cities, states and businesses."
Separately, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, "This is about getting something done that has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, which is passing legislation that invests substantially in rebuilding our roads and bridges across the country and thereby putting people to work right away, and investing in our economic foundation and our future by enhancing our transportation networks. … We have an infrastructure that's in far worse shape that it should be, that is crying out for significant investment."
Members of Congress, including leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, have been working on their own infrastructure plans, but movement has been slow.