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This Week in Congress, September 10, 2010

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By Elizabeth Wynne Johnson of Capitol News Connection

This Week in Congress…

On Monday, President Obama was in the Midwest [AMB “applause – “Hello Milwaukee!”] with the first of several high-profile speeches this week.

OBAMA My grandparents taught me early on that a job is about more than a paycheck. A paycheck’s important, but a job is also about waking up every morning with a sense of purpose... [applause]

So – about that paycheck?

OBAMA Today I am announcing a plan…

Not a stimulus.

OBAMA …for rebuilding and modernizing America’s roads and railways and runways for the long term. I want America to have the best infrastructure in the world.

And he wants to jump-start federal spending to do it. For the most part state officials, especially those charged with thinking about things like roads and bridges, have something to gain from President’s latest infrastructure plan.

About 18-percent of Wyoming’s major roads were in poor or mediocre condition. 13-percent in Florida. The numbers come from a recent report by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The group’s incoming head, Andrew Herrmann, wants both money and vision from Washington.

HERRMANN We need that federal level leadership to give us the direction; we need Congress to follow President Obama’s leadership.

There’s the rub. Most Republicans and some Democrats are unlikely to go along with the President on this one. If ever there was a good time to transcend the ‘tax-and-spend’ versus ‘willful obstructionist’ dichotomy that IS Congress, this might be it; but this is final run-up to the midterm elections and the Republican minority smells majority blood in the water. So no – this isn’t such a good time to bet on Congress transcending the partisan dichotomy.

Still, the week was young. And the nation was fast-approaching a somber anniversary. All the more reason to come together.

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