It’s our great honor to have President and Mrs. Varela from Panama.  And we have many things to discuss.  We’re going to spend quite a bit of time today — the Panama Canal is doing quite well.  I think we did a good job building it, right?

President Trump’s apparent misfire during his meeting with President Varela of Panama (which Twitter quickly turned into a trending topic) was likely due to the fact that he and other officeholders have had big, historic infrastructure projects on their minds. The Panama Canal is just one of the historical references recently deployed in an effort to inspire public interest in this topic, and to make a point about regulation and red tape.

We are a nation of builders.  We are the country that dug out the Panama Canal, that put a man on the face of the moon, and that linked our cities with majestic railroads and curving highways.  We are the country that is always on the cusp of the next invention.

Fifty years ago, our government drove the innovation that inspired the world and put Americans on the moon.  Today, many of our agencies rely on painfully outdated technology, and yet, we have the greatest people in technology that the world has ever seen right here with us in this room.

Instead of rebuilding our country, Washington has spent decades building a dense thicket of rules, regulations and red tape.  It took only four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge and five years to build the Hoover Dam and less than one year to build the Empire State Building.  People don’t believe that.  It took less than one year.  But today, it can take 10 years and far more than that just to get the approvals and permits needed to build a major infrastructure project.

—President Donald Trump

Remarks on Regulatory Relief, June 9, 2017


Deb FischerAccording to the Congressional Research Service, major Federal highway projects can take as long as 14 years to complete from start to finish. It took less time to build the Panama Canal, and we did that more than a century ago.

—Sen. Deb Fischer (R–NE)

Executive Session,  Senate Floor, May 24, 2017


Mike PenceMany said it was impossible.  But America, as usual, proved them wrong — and we did the impossible.  Our people rose to the challenge and completed their work in just five years, ahead of schedule and under budget.  And when the waters of the Colorado River poured forth from the Hoover Dam, the world looked on with wonder at what America had done.  (Applause.)

—Vice President Mike Pence

Remarks at Infrastructure Summit Working Luncheon, June 8, 2017


Rob WoodallBut when the application for the Keystone pipeline was delivered to the administration, it took longer … for them to consider and reject the Keystone pipeline than it took for Americans to build the Hoover Dam from start to finish.

—Rep. Rob Woodall (R–GA)

First 100 days accomplishments, House Floor, April 27, 2017

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