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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

The Trump administration might release an outline of its plan next week. Maybe.

The Trump administration has a lot of irons in the fire these days.

Some you can’t plan for: you’ve got your natural disasters and your man-made ones.

And some you can (and should probably avoid).

But here’s one iron that’s just, you know, off to the side and cooling off: An infrastructure plan.

President Trump’s vaunted, $1 trillion infrastructure bill has been sidetracked. There are still no details from the White House, and Congress is instead working on a big tax reform package. Tax reform, you’ve no doubt heard, is really hard to do, so that means it could take a while for Washington to clear it’s agenda. It’s even been suggested that Republican legislators (who control both the House and Senate) may even take another whack at the Affordable Care Act before turning to a funding package for the nation’s rails, roads and bridges.

Suffice to say: Infrastructure isn’t high on anyone’s agenda – at least not on the agendas of anyone in a position of power in Washington. And the president, who at this point seems to be more of a go-with-your-gut guy, has even questioned a central tenet of his own plan – that it would be built around a public-private partnership funding mechanism.

That means they’re going to have to build this thing from scratch, while Republicans on the Hill wait for an outline of the administration’s plans. They think maybe they’ll get one next week.

"We hope they're going to make it public in the next week or so," Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said this week. "It will be more of an outline or principles."

It’s quite clear that infrastructure spending (if it’s got Buy America rules attached to it) can really boost American manufacturing employment. And it’s disappointing President Trump – who campaigned hard on manufacturing issues – would attach such little importance to getting an infrastructure bill passed.