During his State of the Union Address Tuesday night President Barak Obama discussed infrastructure. The President specifically mentioned high speed rail and high speed internet, but no mention was made of the Water Resources Development Act or improving transportation on the nation's rivers.
Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she believes it would be included in the umbrella the President referred to that is our transportation infrastructure. And she says Congress will have an easier time with it now than it has in the past.
"One of the problems we've had keeping navigability on our rivers has been the upriver folks," McCaskill said. "Byron Dorgan is no longer a Senator, and he has been our nemesis in terms of getting some of the funding we need for the lochs and dams and the other things that are essential in terms of navigation of clearly one of the best assets for our farmers."
However, McCaskill noted that all the investments the President referred to will only happen if he and Congress find cuts somewhere else.
"We are subsidizing almost every industry in our country with Federal money," McCaskill said. "It isn't a true free market. We subsidize real estate, we subsidize energy, we subsidize agriculture, we subsidize everything with Federal tax dollars. We have to shrink that footprint, so I don't want anyone to think that this is going to be a walk in the park, this is going to be tough stuff."
Senator McCaskill said not all subsidies need to go. There are some safety net things we need to maintain but she says a lot of things in the tax code are similar to earmarks which she has been working to eliminate since entering the Senate four years ago. She says it will be interesting to see if the rhetoric matches the reality now.