Senate Democrats will continue their push to pass pieces of President Obama’s jobs bill by forcing another test vote, in just over a week, on legislation to fund key infrastructure projects, and to seed an infrastructure bank, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced Friday.
The legislation would provide $50 billion worth of direct investment to transportation and other infrastructure projects, and create a federal infrastructure bank, with authority to loan money to states and private companies to build out public-use infrastructure.
The kicker is that it will be paid for with a 0.7 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year. That’s a slight tick higher than the minuscule surtax Democrats proposed to pay for legislation to hire teachers and emergency first responders that Republicans filibustered late Thursday night.
According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former GOP congressman, the legislation would create hundreds of thousands of jobs at a cost of $75,000 per.
“We’ve had enough speeches what we need is some action,” LaHood told reporters on a Friday conference call.
The lion’s share of the $50 billion — $27 billion — would be devoted highway restoration and repair, but the bill would also provide billions of dollars for intercity rail, Amtrak, and airport development, according to a draft of the legislation.
Reid lashed out at Republicans who have vowed to unanimously block historically bipartisan initiatives like infrastructure spending in order to protect millionaires from modest new taxes.
“The Republicans in the Senate are the only group of people in America who feel this way,” Reid said. “The Senate GOP has had a love affair for many years now with Grover Norquist.”
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.