Infrastructure May No Longer Be the Bridge Between Sherrod Brown and Donald Trump

Jun 8, 2017

Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (with his wife, Pulitzer-prize winning columnist Connie Schultz) had hoped to work with Trump on infrastructure.
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Shortly after President Donald Trump’s election, Ohio’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said infrastructure repair could be one area where he and the president could work together. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that hope is fading.

President Trump came to Brown’s home state this week to highlight his trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. Two-hundred million dollars for roads, bridges, inland waterways and other projects would come from the federal government. The other 80 percent would come from state and local governments and private industry.

Brown says the details are few, but private investment often means ceding control over public assets and charging the public more to use them.

“These public-private partnerships can work, but not when Wall Street gets these huge fees and loans lots and lots of money to government entities.” 

In his speech in Cincinnati, Trump also promoted cutting regulations and speeding up the permitting process. Brown has said he would oppose lessening environmental and labor protections to expedite projects. 

What about Russia?

'This administration doesn't seem to have any interest in stopping the Russians from doing it in 2018 and 2020.'

Questions about Russia drive Brown and the Trump administration even further apart.

“This administration is so tight with and close to the Russians that they don’t seem to have any interest in doing something about that. And that’s my biggest fear. It’s not, ‘Oh, let’s find what Donald Trump did and did he obstruct justice and did he undermine our interests with the Russians.' That’s bad enough.

"But what’s worse is this administration doesn’t seem to have any interest in stopping the Russians from doing it in 2018 and 2020. Maybe that’s because they consider the Russian oligarchs and the Kremlin and Putin their allies. But most Americans don’t. And I sure as hell don’t.”

Brown also maintains that Republicans on Capitol Hill are privately expressing concern about Russian attempts to influence U.S. elections.