Happy Monday — and welcome to the Early Shift.
The big question as we start the week: Will Congress finally act to keep the Highway Trust Fund going?
Things actually look pretty promising, as the Senate is preparing to move on an $11 billion temporary fix to keep the trust fund solvent through May 2015. The House already passed its version of the bill, and the Senate is expected to finally schedule a vote sometime this week for a very D.C. reason: Senators want to go home. As Roll Call put it:
The Senate is up against its August recess, so if all goes as planned, the federal money will keep flowing to state transportation departments. That means the earth movers and concrete mixers will keep working during this highway construction season.
The bill only provides a 10-month extension to the Trust Fund, and a long-term plan to rebuild our nation’s transportation infrastructure is still badly needed. But this temporary fix will keep hundreds of thousands of Americans working on transportation projects across the country, so we’ll take what we can get… for now.
It's also a busy week for news about the economy, with a slew of measuring reports slated to be unveiled, including the monthly jobs report on Friday. Business Insider predicts “an outsized gain in manufacturing payrolls” in this report due to strength in motor vehicle production. Of course, with President Obama still 844,000 jobs away from reaching his goal of creating 1 million new manufacturing jobs in his second term, we need several months of “outsized gains.”
Meanwhile, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge debacle continues in California, where a state Senator is now calling for a criminal investigation. Sen. Mark DeSaulnier says a soon-to-be-released Senate investigation will show that the California Department of Transportation “knowingly accepted substandard work at taxpayer expense” when it hired a firm from China to complete key steel sections on the suspension span of the bridge.
And in case you missed it, Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul wrote about how his recent trip to Detroit for Netroots Nation reminded him of why we are fighting so hard to restore American manufacturing leadership. As he wrote:
With the right policies manufacturing can see a new dawn not only over Detroit, but all across America. We can see renewed wealth and growth opportunities necessary to keep the American dream alive. And we'll have far fewer of those conversations about which block to raze and which block to save.
A little inspiration to start the week off right.
Photo by Ryan Vaarsi via Flickr Creative Commons.