Infrastructure week isn't a joke anymore

On Twitter, Infrastructure Week became a shorthand for the constant churn of the Trump era, with the underlying premise that the announcement of a new Infrastructure Week foreshadowed chaos to come. Even Republicans would privately chuckle that the issue had become a punch line: Before the 2018 midterms, when they controlled both chambers of Congress, they were more interested in tackling items like tax reform, anyway.

But today, the stakes of any Infrastructure Week are much higher—and, for Republicans, more serious. With Democrats in power in the House, an infrastructure bill is likely the one major piece of legislation that could attract support from members of both parties ahead of the 2020 election. Though neither side wants to give the other a political win, there’s broad consensus that the nation’s infrastructure needs upgrading. This means that if Trump wants to claim one final significant legislative victory to tout on the campaign trail, any Infrastructure Weeks to come will actually have to concern themselves with, well, infrastructure. As White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told my colleague Peter Nicholas and me recently, if Congress can’t manage to pass an infrastructure bill, “it could be a slow couple of years.”

Tuesday, however, seemed to indicate a promising start.