Trump’s infrastructure plan has no dedicated money for broadband

Enlarge / President Donald Trump unveils his infrastructure plan in the State Dining Room at the White House February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla )

President Trump’s new 10-year plan for “rebuilding infrastructure in America” doesn’t contain any funding specifically earmarked for improving Internet access. Instead, the plan sets aside a pool of funding for numerous types of infrastructure projects, and broadband is one of the eligible categories.

The plan’s $50 billion Rural Infrastructure Program lists broadband as one of five broad categories of eligible projects. Here’s the full list:

  • Transportation: roads, bridges, public transit, rail, airports, and maritime and inland waterway ports.
  • Broadband (and other high-speed data and communication conduits).
  • Water and Waste: drinking water, wastewater, storm water, land revitalization, and Brownfields.
  • Power and Electric: governmental generation, transmission, and distribution facilities.
  • Water Resources: flood risk management, water supply, and waterways.

Eighty percent of the program’s $50 billion would be “provided to the governor of each state.” Governors would take the lead in deciding how the money would be spent in their states. The other 20 percent would pay for grants that could be used for any of the above project categories.

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Trump budget plan to seek funds for border wall, infrastructure, opioid treatment

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will unveil his second budget on Monday – seeking to make good on his promise to bolster military spending and requesting funds for infrastructure, construction of a wall along the border with Mexico and opioid treatment programs.

Even Trump wants a better infrastructure plan, but he'll do it the Republican way

The Trump administration is determined to roll out a major infrastructure plan as soon as Monday, and the basic form of that plan is a foregone conclusion: it’ll rely mostly on “public-private partnerships,” AKA privatizing American infrastructure and pushing state and local governments to pay for things Trump and congressional Republicans won’t allocate money for. But that’s not what Americans want infrastructure investment to look like—and even Trump seems to know it’s not good enough:

Gary Cohn, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, ended a late January discussion with the president believing he’d finally convinced him that there’s no room in the federal budget for a massive infrastructure spending bill.

Reluctantly, Trump agreed: States and private companies would have to shoulder most of the $1.5 trillion plan Trump had promised the American public.

But then Trump waffled again, forcing Cohn’s deputy, D.J. Gribbin, who had been working on the plan, to delay its release, which had been tentatively timed around Trump’s Jan. 30 State of the Union address. That’s according to two individuals and an administration official familiar with the talks.

Trump wants public works that he can put his name on and claim credit for. Americans want truly public infrastructure that doesn’t involve paying jacked up tolls to ensure a private company’s profit. But that’s not the Republican way in 2017: they’re not willing to pay for bridges that aren’t crumbling and rail to connect cities, or any of the nation’s other pressing needs. Having passed their giant tax scam, they’re now using its effects on the federal debt to argue once again that the United States can’t afford to invest in its future. And Trump, who demanded the tax scam, will ultimately let his advisers scam him into believing he’s getting something like the infrastructure plan of his ill-informed, narcissistic dreams.

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You'll never guess who's behind Rubio's Social Security gutting 'family leave' plan

Okay, so you’ve probably guessed. It’s some right-wing think tank, right? Of course it is! Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ivanka Trump have been working on what they call “paid family leave.” It’s more like “borrowed” family leave, in which the employee robs her retirement savings in order to take time off to deal with family circumstances. It’s profoundly damaging to women, in particular, so of course the organization behind the idea is the reactionary Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), “a right-wing nonprofit organization purportedly focused on the economic policy concerns of women.”

While the details on Rubio’s actual legislation remain scarce, Social Security experts have already voiced their concerns over this approach, as any delay in benefits is seen as a cut to the program. What will happen to the roughly 80 percent of Americans who do not have access to paid leave, but who also want to keep their Social Security as is so they can retire on time?

The National Partnership for Women and Families released a statement Wednesday calling the proposal harmful for women.

“Such a plan would harm women in particular because they are still primary caregivers for their families and the wages they receive over their lifetimes trail men’s, leading to monthly Social Security benefits that are an average of 20 percent lower for women than men,” NPWF President Debra Ness said. “But no one should have to borrow against already low Social Security benefits in order to access the paid family and medical leave they need. Our country deserves to have the promise of Social Security protected.”

The IWF has been around for a long time, organized from the “Women For Judge Thomas” group that formed in 1992 to betray all of womanhood by attacking Anita Hill. Seriously, their whole thing was to attack Hill, and they had so much fun with that they decided to create a new group to attack all of us. They even lobbied against the Violence Against Women Act, because “wives instigate violence, including severe violence, against husbands more often than husbands do against wives.”

You’d think, given the White House’s current issues around domestic violence, that Rubio and Trump could find another think tank to associate with. This is a profoundly awful idea coming from profoundly horrible people.