Senate Democrats unveil $1 trillion infrastructure plan

United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
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MEDIA ADVISORY: Jan. 24, 2017

Ryan Brown, communications director
Emily Rogers, press secretary
Tim Rennie, deputy press secretary
Jackie McGuinness, press assistant

Senate Democrats unveil $1 trillion infrastructure plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and other top Senate Democrats today unveiled a major $1 trillion infrastructure spending plan aimed at creating millions of new jobs while repairing the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Democrats say the plan to invest $1 trillion in transportation and other infrastructure projects over 10 years would create more than 15 million new jobs and provide funding to repair roads and bridges, expand bus and rail systems, modernize ports and rebuild public schools.

“Florida is growing at a rate of nearly 1,000 people per day,” Nelson said. “You can imagine the toll that’s taking on our state’s infrastructure. This is our chance to make some much-needed repairs and create millions of new jobs in the process.”

Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee and a key sponsor of the proposal, says that if approved, the plan would likely fund several important projects in Florida.

Specifically, Nelson says the plan includes $180 billion to improve and expand bus and rail systems, which could be used to restore Amtrak service along Florida’s Gulf Coast and extend Sunrail service in Orlando. It also includes $10 billion to modernize ports and waterways, which could be used to speed up repairs being made to the Herbert Hoover Dike and deepen the ports in Jacksonville and Ft. Lauderdale to accommodate the new mega ships coming through the expanded Panama Canal, and $210 billion to fix crumbling roads and bridges.

The plan also provides, among other things, $30 billion for airport improvements, $10 billion to construct new Veterans Affairs facilities and $75 billion to modernize public schools.

Here’s a link to more information on the plan: https://www.billnelson.senate.gov/sites/default/files/Infrastructure_Plan.pdf

Senator Bill Nelson files series of bills

FYI – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) filed a series of bills today aimed at tackling a wide range of issues important to the people of Florida – from protecting the state’s tourism-driven economy from the threat of offshore oil drilling to improving low-income housing and helping citrus growers recover from the devastating effects of a deadly citrus disease known as greening.

Among the measures Nelson introduced today are:

The Marine Oil Spill Prevention Act. In 2006, Nelson and then-Sen. Mel Martinez successfully brokered a deal to ban oil drilling off much of Florida’s Gulf Coast through most of 2022. As a result, a no-drilling zone currently extends 125 miles off much of Florida’s Gulf Coast and as far as 235 miles at some points to protect vital military training areas in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. This moratorium is in effect until June 30, 2022. The legislation Nelson filed today would extend that ban for another five years, from 2022 to 2027. Text of the bill is available here.

The Housing Accountability Act. To help thousands of low-income families living in federally-subsidized housing such as Eureka Gardens in Jacksonville and Windsor Cove Apartments in Orlando, Nelson today re-filed legislation he first introduced last year to hold the owners of low-income housing complexes more accountable for poor living conditions. Nelson’s bill would, among other things, require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to survey the tenants of these housing complexes twice a year about property conditions and management performance. It would also create new penalties for property owners who repeatedly fail these tenant surveys. Text of the bill is available here.

Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act. To help Florida’s citrus growers replant millions of citrus trees lost to citrus greening, Nelson re-filed legislation today that would allow growers to immediately deduct the full cost of planting new trees, instead of over a 14-year period as required by current law. Citrus greening has been blamed for killing crops across the country, including more than 160,000 acres in Florida since 2005. Nelson’s bill would encourage growers to start the process of planting some of the nearly 20 million new trees experts say will be needed to get Florida’s citrus production back to the level it had reached nearly 10 years ago, before the greening disease began to ravage the state. Text of the bill is available here.

Counterterror Alert Act. Nelson today re-filed legislation he says may have prevented the tragic mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando had it been in effect prior to the incident. The bill, which Nelson initially filed last summer shortly after the tragedy, would ensure that the FBI is alerted if a suspected terrorist tries to purchase a firearm. It came to light shortly after the Pulse nightclub attack that the gunman responsible for that attack had once been on a terrorist watch list. Nelson’s bill would ensure that any individual who is, or has been, investigated for possible ties to terrorism is entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which gun shop owners use to run checks on prospective gun buyers. And it would require that the NICS system automatically notify the appropriate division of the FBI if a background check is conducted for a prospective buyer who is, or has been, investigated for potential ties to terrorism. Text of the bill is available here.

Ford dumping plans for $1.6 billion factory in Mexico

By Bernie Woodall and David Shepardson

FLAT ROCK, Mich./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co said Tuesday it will cancel a planned $1.6 billion factory in Mexico and will invest $700 million at a Michigan factory, after President-elect Donald Trump had harshly criticized the Mexico investment plan. 

The second largest U.S. automaker said it would build new electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles at the Flat Rock, Michigan plant.

Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields said the decision to cancel the new Mexico factory was in part related to the need to "fully utilize capacity at existing facilities" amid declining sales of small and medium sized cars such as the Focus and Fusion. 

Fields also endorsed "pro growth" tax and regulatory policies advocated by Trump and the Republican-led Congress. "This is a vote of confidence for President-Elect Trump and some of the policies he may be pursuing," Fields said.

Trump repeatedly said during the election campaign that if elected he would not allow Ford to open the new plant in Mexico, which he called an "absolute disgrace" and would slap hefty tariffs taxes on imported Ford vehicles.

Ford executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. told reporters he spoke with Trump to notify him of the decision. A Ford spokesman said the decision was influenced by Trump's policy goals such as lowering taxes and regulations but there were no negotiations between Ford and the Republican over the decision to cancel the Mexico plant or invest in Michigan.

Also on Tuesday, Trump threatened to impose a "big border tax" on General Motors Co for making some of its Chevrolet Cruze cars in Mexico. 

The New York businessman, who has vowed to bring back American jobs that have been outsourced overseas and be tough on illegal immigration from Mexico, takes office on Jan. 20.

Fields said Ford will build a battery electric SUV with a 300-mile driving range at the Michigan plant by 2020 -- taking on companies like Tesla Motors Inc Volkswagen and GM -- and will launch production there by 2021 of a fully autonomous vehicle without a steering wheel or a brake pedal for use in ride services fleets.

Ford also plans new hybrid versions of its F-150 pickup truck, Mustang and police vehicles by 2020 as the auto industry faces rising fuel efficiency mandates.

Ford will add 700 jobs at the Flat Rock plant, Fields said, to cheers from union workers gathered at the factory for the announcement.

TRUMP PREDICTION

Ford in April announced it would invest $1.6 billion in the new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico to build small cars. The company said it will shift production from Michigan of its Focus to an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. 

When Trump announced his campaign in June, 2015, he said Ford would cancel its planned Mexico investments. "They’ll say,‘Mr. President we’ve decided to move the plant back to the United States — we’re not going to build it in Mexico.’ That’s it. They have no choice," Trump said.

Trump tweeted a link on Tuesday to a story about the decision.

Ford shares rose 3.3 percent to $12.54, up $0.41 a share, while the Mexican peso fell on Tuesday to touch its weakest level in seven weeks.

Ford said it will add two new unnamed products at its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, where the Focus is manufactured today.       


 (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell)

Honesty, that’s all we ask for …

Just sitting here eating stale Christmas cookies, thinking about what the New Year has in store for us.

Have you ever gone to revival or a Bible-thumping church where are the parishioners stand up and shout out Amen or Praise the Lord?

Well, that’s kinda like what I’m feeling stepping into 2017.

It’s evident that our country has a renewed sense of purpose, a purpose that will begin on January 20, 2017 at noon when President Trump is sworn into office.

Will all the campaign promises be fulfilled?  Who knows? What we do know is the overbearing burden of the last eight years is behind us.

President Trump will shoot straight with the America people. Honesty, that’s all we ask for.

Political correctness is finally being laid to rest, thanks to Donald Trump.  People are finally coming out of the shadows, speaking their minds, and defending their principles, without fear of being called racists or homophobes.

Corporate media continues to lap up day-old news from President Trump’s Twitter account, slicing and dicing  his meaning to fit their narrative.

Snowflakes are starting to figure out prizes are only given to winners.

Entertainers haven’t quite figured out we don’t care what their political opinion is.

Democrats are in denial.  That’s OK, us Deplorables don’t care how Hillary lost, just that she did.

Oh, by the way, Mr. Obama? It’s the people’s house, not your house.

So, as I sit here feeling fatter and happier after all my stale cookies and spewing politics, I’d like to wish each of you Happy New Year!