-September 1, 2011
Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) – the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus – want the president to champion sweeping investments in the nation's crumbling infrastructure as a way to create jobs and jolt the sluggish economy.
"With 14 million Americans still looking for work, this is not the time to tinker around the edges," the lawmakers wrote to Obama Thursday. "We must take bold action, and that requires federal emergency jobs legislation."
Obama is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress next Thursday to lay out his plans for tackling the nation's unemployment rate, which is hovering above 9 percent.
Specifically, Grijalva and Ellison are urging Obama to promote a national infrastructure bank, a public-private partnership designed to fund the nation's aging roads, bridges, railways and other vital structures. That proposal, championed by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), is part of the Make it in America agenda being pushed by House Democrats this year.
"The country’s infrastructure needs an estimated investment of $2.2 trillion," Grijalva and Ellison wrote. "We should not delay these crucial investments, especially while millions of Americans are out of work. Rebuilding America – without creating expensive new corporate tax loopholes – will further boost our economy and create badly needed jobs."