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Infrastructure? A problem? Your politicians are on it

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On Aug. 2, the day after the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River near downtown Minneapolis collapsed, Sen. Chris Dodd, a presidential candidate, told his fellow senators:

Fixing our Nation’s crumbling infrastructure is an issue that cannot be neglected or deferred any further. This demands our immediate attention and commitment in the Senate. The quality of life in our country hangs in the balance. [emphasis added]

With that address, he introduced, with Sen. Chuck Hagel (he who thought about being a presidential candidate), Senate Bill 1926 — the National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2007. That it’s a bad bill isn’t the point here.

What’s happened to it? And where’s that “immediate attention and commitment in the Senate”?

Only one additional co-sponsor, Sen. Hillary Clinton, also a presidential candidate, has signed on to Sens. Dodd and Hagel’s bill, which has been referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

There, according to Senate records, it rests among 108 bills referred to the committee, including such important Senate business as the “Promoting Fully Informed Investment Decision Making Act of 2007” (S. 2015); the “Robert M. La Follette, Sr. Commemorative Coin Act” (S. 1664); a “bill to authorize Congress to award a gold medal to Jerry Lewis, in recognition of his outstanding service to the Nation” (S. 1603); the “Model T Ford Automobile Commemorative Coin Act” (S. 587); “a bill to amend titles 10 and 14, United States Code, to provide for the use of gold in the metal content of the Medal of Honor” (S. 288); and the “Coinage Materials Modernization Act of 2007” S. 1986).

A companion House measure of the same name (H.R. 3401), filed by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn), has only one co-sponsor, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) It has been referred to two House committees — Transportation and Infrastructure, and Financial Services.

Anything else happen?

The Senate passed S. 775, the National Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2007. Well, it’s not an “improvement” bill. It’s a measure to study the infrastructure problem. Report’s due in February 2009. House version is still in committee.

A bridge collapsed. People died. Politicians postured. Politicians procrastinated. Then they went on a month’s vacation. The quality of life in our country hangs in the balance.

xpost: Scholars & Rogues

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

October 5, 2007 at 10:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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