PEORIA — U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos fielded questions on stalled infrastructure legislation and vocational education, among other topics, from workers this week after touring the shop floor at Komatsu's Peoria plant.
The Moline Democrat even had a chance to start the engine on a massive mining truck during the Wednesday afternoon tour, and sounded out leaders of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 158 on labor relations with the company.
She commented on both as she opened her Q-and-A session with shop-floor and office workers in front of the truck, noting that her guide gave her solid marks for her work with the truck and that she was happy at the relative peace between union and employer.
As to the infrastructure package, Bustos said she was ready for legislation to move right along until President Donald Trump abruptly ended discussions last week over House Democrats' continued investigations into his administration.
She said lack of an agreement — whether at $1 trillion, which Democrats have a plan to pay for, or at the $2 trillion number Trump pushed without explaining how costs would be covered — ultimately hurts American prosperity.
"We are losing that competitive advantage" by not investing in infrastructure, Bustos said, pointing to highway, bridge, rail and river problems that make it harder — and more costly — to get goods to market.
Such a bill would also "lead to good-paying jobs" in the construction industry, she told workers.
Bustos also spoke favorably of continued efforts to increase vocational training in schools across the country.