AZ Rep Ruben Gallego to Dems: Don’t Enable Trump’s Infrastructure Surge
— Matt O'Brien (@ObsoleteDogma) November 18, 2016
Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi may be ready to bend over backward to work with Donald Trump on “infrastructure,” but you can count Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego out.
Trump has proposed spending $1 trillion on infrastructure. It’s barely even an outline at this point, but it is based on tax incentives and privatization schemes that could lead to a lot of new toll roads and would subsidize a lot of infrastructure that would be built anyway. Even industry reps like state DOTs and toll road groups have questioned the soundness of the proposal. Trump’s opaque personal finances also open the door to massive corruption and cronyism via infrastructure spending.
And we haven’t even got to the fact that Trump is filling his White House with an assortment of white supremacists, authoritarians, and Islamophobes. Nevertheless, top Democrats like Pelosi and Schumer have already pledged to work with Trump on his infrastructure plan.
One person who’s thrilled with these leading Democrats is Trump’s chief advisor, Steve Bannon, the notorious white nationalist who ran Breitbart before joining the Trump campaign this summer. Bannon recently said the infrastructure plan would be “as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan Revolution” for “an economic nationalist movement.”
Thankfully, not every Democrat in Congress is ready to start enabling Trump by working with him under the broad heading of “infrastructure.”
U.S. Representative Ruben Gallego, a freshman from Arizona, is staking out a much stronger and more principled position. In recent testimony before Congress [PDF], Gallego said Democrats must do everything they can to stop Trump’s infrastructure plan:
Given everything we know about Donald Trump — and everything we don’t know — I was alarmed by the words of senior leaders from both the progressive and centrist wings of the party regarding their openness to working with Donald Trump on infrastructure.
Under ordinary circumstances, we would welcome a plan to invest in infrastructure — even if that plan came from the other side of the aisle. Especially if it came from the other side of the aisle!
But Donald Trump is not an ordinary politician. He is a con-artist. He has refused to give the American people reason to believe that he is not in this to enrich himself. In fact, he has bucked tradition by maintaining his family’s interest in a private corporation.
And, unfortunately, his infrastructure plan is really a privatization scheme, rife with graft and corruption, whose real purpose is to enrich the Trump family and his supporters. He is not reaching out. He is reaching his hand into America’s pockets, just as he has his whole career. And we must not let him do it.
Here in Congress, however, we cannot afford to give him the benefit of the doubt. We must not lift a finger to help him scam our country. We must instead put every effort into stopping him.
Gallego should start delivering strategy lessons to the Democratic leadership in Congress. Their message of collaboration on infrastructure has been a disaster so far and they are quickly running out of time to change course. Gallego is showing them a better path.