If it’s Wednesday, this must be infrastructure day

February 11, 2009

In case you weren’t paying attention, Wednesday was infrastructure day at the White House.

President Barack Obama went to the Virginia suburbs to look at a road, Vice President Joe Biden went to Pennsylvania to look at a bridge and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stayed in Washington and met dozens of state transportation officials.

USA-OBAMA/“Look around us. Look at this construction site, right where we’re standing,” Obama said during a visit to the unfinished Fairfax County Parkway in Springfield, Virginia. “We’re surrounded by unmet needs and unfinished business.”

He was standing at a podium on top of a dirt berm talking to a group of reporters roped off behind a red fence. A stiff wind kicked up dust that occasionally enveloped him and his audience.

The unfinished business he was talking about was not the roadway but the nearly $800 billion economic stimulus bill on Capitol Hill. The event was aimed at keeping heat on lawmakers to send him a bill before his weekend deadline.

“Not far from where we stand, back in Washington, we continue to have a debate about our economic plan, a plan to create or save more than 3 million jobs in the next few years,” Obama said.

“You don’t have to travel very far from that debate to see why enacting this plan is both urgent and essential to our recovery, to see that the time for talk has passed and that now is the time to take bold and swift action.”

Obama has been encouraging Congress to take swift and bold action since he took office more than three weeks ago. He stepped up the arm-twisting this week with theme days focusing on different elements of the massive bill.

USA-OBAMA/He went to the recreational vehicle manufacturing capital of Elkhart, Indiana, on Monday to emphasize soaring unemployment in some hard-hit communities.

He went to Fort Myers, Florida, on Tuesday to focus on home foreclosures.

And Wednesday was infrastructure day.

With a compromise deal struck by Congress Wednesday afternoon, Thursday could be Obama’s victory lap day.

He is scheduled to visit a Caterpillar plant in Illinois. The White House says the heavy equipment manufacturer’s chief executive has decided to rehire some of the company’s 22,000 laid off workers if Congress passes the stimulus.

Democrats say a final vote on the measure could come as early as Thursday. 

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama speaks at road construction site in Virginia; Obama with Virginia Governor Tim Kaine at construction site)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

What a long-awaited relief!! Finally there is action!! I think that rather than a socialistic state, we are finally becoming a real democracy. Our government is at last listening to the “people” who have been left out of the dialogue. I was wondering what had happened to “OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE.”

Posted by Jewel Thompson | Report as abusive

the transparent government that obama campaigned on, does not seem to materializing .watching gibbs talking to the press core fan club, he does not seem to be specific about anything,excuse ,”i,ll get back to you on that”.the final negotiation on the democratic spend bill, behind closed doors,and because of the vagueness or lack of detailed information,by geithner the stocks on the market drop 400 points.yes every thing is on the table, only they don,t want you to see it.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive