The idea of a national infrastructure bank was first introduced in Congress almost two decades ago, and, earlier this year, it looked like it might finally pass. The BUILD Act, which would create a non-political national infrastructure bank, was conceived by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and had bipartisan support in the Senate, where it was also sponsored by Sens. Kaye Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas; Lindsay Graham, R-S.C.; and Mark Warner, D-Va. It was strongly backed by President Barack Obama, who had first talked about the concept during the 2008 presidential campaign and again in 2011. The BUILD Act and the bank also had the rarely seen combined support of both organized labor and the business community. Both the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed it.
The BUILD provision for a national infrastructure bank was included in the $447 billion Rebuild America Jobs Act proposed by President Obama. That broader bill, however, failed to pass the Senate