Two Bedrock Requirements for Any Infrastructure Bill

By Dan Cadman on May 6, 2019

News reports indicate that, despite the acrimony between Democrats and Republicans, President Trump has cut a deal on the outlines of a $2 trillion infrastructure plan.

There is a possible roadblock, however, in that many (most?) Republicans don't want such a deal to mean either raising the debt ceiling unacceptably or repealing recent tax cuts to pay for the plan; they would rather it be paid for by offsets. At the same time, they note, the federal highway trust fund is about to sunset, and needs to be addressed both legislatively and by an infusion of money.

As I have suggested previously, one of the standards that should be embedded in any infrastructure bill (or, for that matter, re-legislation of the highway trust fund) is to ensure that E-Verify must be used by all federal, state, and local governments — and their contractors and subcontractors — that are recipients of any federal taxpayer dollars put out for these programs. After all, why provide job opportunities if they are going to end up in the hands of unauthorized workers simply to enrich the bottom-line profits of construction companies and big corporations?

But since I posted that item on E-Verify, I've realized that there is another standard that must be embedded in any infrastructure or highway or, for that matter, airport funding measures. I came to this realization after discovering that the executive of King County, Wash., Dow Constantine, issued an executive order prohibiting federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from accessing the county airport in support of detention transportation flights. This is, of course, unacceptable.

For this reason, I believe that the second standard for any federal funding bills must be that no federal, state, or local government entity, or any entity contracted by or acting in such a government's behalf, may be permitted access to grant monies if it denies access to any federal agency in the pursuit of its mission. This is eminently reasonable: Why should they expect to receive scarce federal taxpayer dollars while thumbing their nose at federal organizations?

If Democrats wish to see infrastructure or other, similar measures signed into law, these two things should form bedrock demands by Republicans before any measure is passed to the president for signature.