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Wilbur Ross acknowledges need for federal spending on infrastructure — something Republicans have tried to avoid

Commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross seems to side with President-elect Donald Trump when it comes to federal government spending on infrastructure projects. At his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, Ross admitted that "there will be some necessity" for direct government spending on infrastructure, alongside private spending and tax breaks. "I think there's a role for the federal government to play ... in dealing with some of these critical infrastructure needs," Ross said.

Republicans have so far been lukewarm about Trump's proposal to invest $1 trillion in the country's bridges, highways, and airports — at least, if it should happen on the government's tab. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), for one, has been critical of Democrats' efforts to spend more on infrastructure, remarking last September — after a highway spending bill was passed for the first time since the 1990s — that spending on mass transit and highways was "already in place at 10 percent above baseline spending." In January, however, Ryan suggested Trump's infrastructure package is something they'd be "happy to do."

Ross did say Wednesday that "we're very fortunate that it's a very low interest rate environment when we're trying to solve this problem."