Kelly plans to reintroduce infrastructure bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. - National Infrastructure Week continues Thursday in Washington and around the United States. It comes as talks still continue between the White House and top Democrats on how to pay for a comprehensive infrastructure package.
From bridges to broadband, both sides agree that a sweeping infrastructure plan is necessary, but it could come with a hefty price tag: upwards of $2 trillion. So how to pay for it?
To start, congressman U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) tells us he plans to reintroduce legislation known as the GAIIN (Generating American Income and Infrastructure Now) Act, which sells government-owned debt known as non-performing loans.
“When we sell them, we’ll take the proceeds – the revenue from that – and invest them into parts of our community where there is no investment anymore,” Kelly said.
The U.S. Treasury hold has nearly $2 trillion worth of those loans on the books, including many bought from banks years ago, Kelly said. The government would sell them to investors at a discount; then congress would split the revenue: 50 percent to infrastructure projects in low-income areas, and 50 percent to paying off the national debt.
“We’re not asking taxpayers to pay more,” Kelly emphasized. “We’re taking an asset, making it liquid again, and channeling it into those communities.”
Kelly’s plan could double as a jobs bill. A provision inside requires investors to hire local companies to work on their projects. It’s a provision that’s catching the eye of some leaders at the National Association of Minority Contractors.
“You have to make opportunities for urban America and rural America so they feel a part of and be included in that process,” said NAMC President Wendell Stemley.
When Kelly first introduced the GAIIN Act in 2018, it united two groups that rarely see eye-to-eye: the conservative House Freedom Caucus and the liberal-leaning Congressional Black Caucus. Currently, the new Congressional session, Kelly is still working gain support from Democratic lawmakers.
It’s unclear how much money the GAIIN Act could generate, a Kelly spokesperson said. But those in the field, including Stemley, are hoping this will be included in what they describe is deal that’s long overdue.
“In urban America, you don’t have access to be able to affordably buy the internet,” Stemley said, “and in rural America, you don’t have access to broadband.”