Perdue joins other Cabinet leaders to testify to committee on infrastructure
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was one of five Cabinet secretaries today to testify on infrastructure before the Senate Commerce Committee.
In an opening statement, Perdue said, “We need better infrastructure to connect cash crops to markets, milk from the dairy farms through the supply chain to the grocery stores, timber to lumber mills, clean water to rural households, affordable electricity to factories, teachers to students, and patients to doctors.
“With such investments in rural infrastructure, we will create job opportunities for the rural workforce and unleash the full potential of the U.S. economy,” he said. “Infrastructure has been the core of American economic success for more than two centuries.”
Perdue also noted that President Donald Trump’s infrastructure proposal “devotes $50 billion, or 25 percent of the overall infrastructure proposal, for rural areas with populations of 50,000 or less, allocating a majority of the rural investment – 80 percent or $40 billion – directly to states as block grants, by a formula based on rural population and rural infrastructure. States would then use their Rural Infrastructure Block Grant to choose the mix of projects that best fulfill rural priorities with a non-siloed approach to investing.”
The other Cabinet secretaries to testify were Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
In announcing the hearing titled “Rebuilding Infrastructure in America: Administration Perspectives,” Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said, “Testimony from these five Cabinet secretaries will support a comprehensive public discussion with senators about the White House proposal for aligning federal resources with local infrastructure needs and helping complete projects faster.”
On March 7, after the White House announced a national infrastructure proposal, Thune and Senate Commerce ranking member Bill Nelson, D-Fla., announced that they intended to work together on legislation.
“Through this guidance and letting Congress have the opportunity to write bipartisan legislation, President [Donald] Trump has offered us direction to meet infrastructure needs in our nation’s states, cities, and rural communities,” said Thune. “Aligning federal infrastructure funding with local priorities and looking at other impediments to building would increase accountability and help us meet our most critical infrastructure needs faster. I look forward to working with my ranking member, Sen. Nelson, and other colleagues on both sides of the aisle to discuss and incorporate their ideas and priorities into legislation.”
“Modernizing our transportation and communication networks is something we all agree the U.S. desperately needs in order to create more jobs and maintain our leadership in the global economy,” said Nelson. “We need to make real investments – not cuts – in Florida and communities around the country. That’s why I plan to work with Chairman Thune and my colleagues on the Senate Commerce Committee to try to come up with a bill that can garner broad support and include ideas from both parties.”
–The Hagstrom Report