It would be news if House Republicans were actually planning to take up Trump's infrastructure plan and pass it as Speaker Paul Ryan says, but they're not doing that.
What they're doing is the same thing Congress has always done.
Ryan said the House will first address airports and runways as part of a must-pass reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, then work on more traditional highway and bridge issues. Congress will start on infrastructure legislation in the coming weeks, he said.
“We just think it’s easier to do this in pieces,” Ryan said Thursday in a talk to employees of Home Depot Inc. at the company’s headquarters in Atlanta.
Addressing separate areas of infrastructure in multiple bills should sound familiar because that's the way it was done before Republicans took control of Congress. They're called appropriations bills.
Republicans have continued to fund those areas the budget each year, but it's been done without debate; without actually going through the appropriations process. House Republicans have brought dozens of bills directly to the floor instead of passing them through individual committees first. Republicans have been incapable of completing the appropriations process because a significant number of their own members won't vote for bills that don't include radical cuts or changes to existing programs. Republicans abandoned the appropriations process for good in 2015 after Democrats forced a vote on the display of Confederate flags at federal cemeteries.
That's not expected to change this month when Congress passes another measure to fund the federal government at current levels, either for another month or possibly the remainder of fiscal 2018.
My gut says Congress wont be able to fund the government for a period stretching from late March to October 1st, but I guess we'll see.