If it’s Wednesday, this must be infrastructure day
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.
“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.
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.
Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama speaks at road construction site in Virginia; Obama with Virginia Governor Tim Kaine at construction site)