Fox's Bolling Baselessly Attacks Infrastructure Bank Plan As Union Handout

Fox Business host Eric Bolling attacked President Obama's call for a national infrastructure bank, calling it “a tip of the hat to the unions.” In fact, the most recent proposal for such a bank was sponsored by one Democratic senator and two Republican senators; the plan is supported not only by unions but also by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and a Moody's Analytics director called the infrastructure bank plan a “win-win” for the economy.

Bolling: Obama's Call For Infrastructure Bank Is “A Tip Of The Hat To The Unions”

Bolling: “All [The Infrastructure Bank] Is, Is That's A Tip Of The Hat To The Unions.” On the August 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest host Eric Bolling called the infrastructure bank “a tip of the hat to the unions” and claimed that President Obama is promoting plans for the bank because "[h]e's going to need union support to get re-elected. He needs to raise a billion dollars." From the broadcast:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Well, [President Obama] did indicate a couple of days ago that he's going to be talking about a major jobs program, but he's going to be doing after his vacation, he's going to be doing it after Labor Day. So now we're going to find out details. We do know some details. He wants to set up an infrastructure bank.

BOLLING: Which is troublesome.

GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): Why?

BOLLING: Because all that is --

KILMEADE: Which is get some money, put it in there, build some bridges and roads.

BOLLING: All that is, is that's a tip of the hat to the unions. He's going to need union support to get re-elected. He needs to raise a billion dollars. A lot of money's going to come from the unions. The infrastructure bank means there's a pool of money that -- who knows where it's coming from? Could come from gas tax, could come from anywhere. That bank will be used to fund union jobs. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/17/11]

But Current Bill Has Support Of GOP Senators, Chamber Of Commerce And Was Praised By A Moody's Director

WSJ: Latest Infrastructure Bank Bill Was “Unveiled This Year, By Sens. John Kerry (D., Mass), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R., Texas) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), And [Is] Backed By The Chamber [Of Commerce].” An August 15 Wall Street Journal article noted that the most recent proposal to create an infrastructure bank is a “bill unveiled this year, by Sens. John Kerry (D., Mass), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R., Texas) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.).” The article also noted that Kerry, Hutchison, and Graham's bill is “backed by the Chamber [of Commerce].” [The Wall Street Journal, 8/15/11]

Klein Quotes Moody's Analytics Director Saying Bank “Would Be A Win-Win Situation For Economy To Put Some Of Those People To Work.” In an August 3 post on his Washington Post blog, Ezra Klein wrote:

The country's infrastructure isn't in great shape, and the government could be more effective about spending money on new projects. Supported by the Chamber of Commerce, a bipartisan group of senators proposed a new infrastructure bank that would spur the creation of public-private projects. “There is certainly interest in improving infrastructure we have, in terms of rail, ports, etc. -- firms will want to take advantage of that,” says Gus Faucher, director of macroeconomics for Moody's Analytics. “It would be a win-win situation for economy to put some of those people to work, building stuff that would improve long-run economy.” [The Washington Post, 8/3/11]

Proposed Bank Could Spur Infrastructure Spending, Would Have Dedicated Revenue Stream, Limit Risks To Taxpayers

WSJ: Bank Would “Finance Highway And Rail Construction” By “Mak[ing] Loans To Support Public-Works Projects ... With Private Funding.” The August 15 Wall Street Journal article also stated:

President Barack Obama is pressing Congress to create a new “infrastructure bank” to finance highway and rail construction, create jobs and jump-start the stalled economy, but the proposal faces hurdles on Capitol Hill.

White House officials have described the bank as a new government entity that would make loans to support public-works projects of regional and national significance with private funding. That includes interstate highways, rail lines linking Midwest farmers to West Coast ports, and equipment for planes to link up to a new satellite-based air-traffic-control network.

By luring more private capital to infrastructure projects with low-interest loans, the bank is designed to provide a long-term solution to more immediate problems. [The Wall Street Journal, 8/15/11]

NYT: Senators Say “Creating An Infrastructure Bank With $10 Billion Now ... Could Spur Up To $640 Billion Worth Of Infrastructure Spending Over The Next Decade.” From a March 15 New York Times article:

Amid growing concerns that the nation's infrastructure is deteriorating, a group of Democrats, Republicans, and labor and business leaders called Tuesday for the creation of a national infrastructure bank to help finance the construction of things like roads, bridges, water systems and power grids.

The proposal -- sponsored by Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas -- would establish an independent bank to provide loans and loan guarantees for projects of regional or national significance. The idea is to attract more infrastructure investment from the private sector: by creating an infrastructure bank with $10 billion now, they say, they could spur up to $640 billion worth of infrastructure spending over the next decade. [The New York Times, 3/15/11]

WSJ: Kerry, Hutchison, And Graham's Proposal “Requires That Projects Have A Dedicated Revenue Stream ... And [Would Limit] Funding Assistance To 50% Of A Project's Costs.” From The Wall Street Journal article:

A bill unveiled this year, by Sens. John Kerry (D., Mass), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R., Texas) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), and backed by the Chamber, would take a slightly different approach that could be more palatable to conservatives.

First, the price tag would be lower, with the bank getting $10 billion in initial “seed money.” Aides to Mr. Kerry said last week that they were looking to lower that amount further and trying to find savings from other programs to fund the bank.

The bank would be controlled by a chief executive and a board appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. And it would issue only loans and loan guarantees, not grants, which critics have called a handout.

The proposal also requires that projects have a dedicated revenue stream -- tolls -- to ensure the money is paid back. And by limiting funding assistance to 50% of a project's costs, proponents say, the risk to taxpayers would be limited. [The Wall Street Journal, 8/15/11]