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Lawmakers Reveal $2T Infrastructure Agreement

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

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Just yesterday (April 30), President Donald J. Trump and Democratic congressional leaders announced the agreement of a $2 trillion infrastructure plan. The proposal focuses on roads, bridges, highways, water, power grids and other various infrastructure.

However, no agreement has been made on how it will be to be paid for.

The Meeting

After a request for meeting made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Cal., and other congressional Democrats to discuss launching a potential building program, a rare bipartisanship emerged.

According to NPR, the some-90-minute White House meeting had Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Pelosi expressing positivity for the future of the United States’ infrastructure.

"The good news here is we agreed on a big package and now it's up to the president and the White House to tell us how they pay for it," Schumer said.

"It was repeated over and over again that unless he is willing to come up with the pay-fors for this large package, it will never get done, and he agreed."

Trump unveiled his proposed infrastructure plan last year, which focused on $1.5 trillion in new spending on infrastructure over the course of a decade. However, the plan relied heavily on state, local and private investments, including $200 billion in federal funding in hopes to leverage more than six times as much new revenue from those sources.

A plan released prior to the president’s by Senate Democrats intended to rely far more heavily on direct federal government spending, though.

In a joint statement, Schumer and Pelosi said, “Every congressional district in America has urgent needs, which any bog and bold initiative must address.”

"Originally, we had started a little lower. Even the president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion, and that is a very good thing," Schumer added. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also stated that the meeting was “excellent and productive.”

Trump and Democratic lawmakers agreed to meet again in three weeks, during which time the president would present his ideas on how the idea could be funded.

Financing

Traditionally, Democrats favor direct government investment and Republicans generally prefer that public seed money leverage private capital. Although Trump and Schumer agree that there must be a “very large federal share,” Trump disapproves of the Democratic proposal involving 80% federally funded dollars.

Currently, there is no indication that either party wishes to solve the issue by raising the gas tax, which funds federal transportation projects. The gasoline tax is currently 18.3 cents a gallon and hasn’t been raised since 1993. The United States’ top business groups and labor unions support the idea, however.

Although Trump hasn’t ruled out tax increases, some Democrats are suggesting rolling back the tax cuts previously passed by the president and using that to fund the road and bridge repairs. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., claimed that the idea would be a “non-starter.”

"I think a deal can be had if everybody is willing to put their battle axes away for a period," said former Republican Rep. Bill Shuster, of Pennsylvania. In response, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s acting chief of staff, indicated that wouldn’t be easy.

With more than one “infrastructure week” having nothing to show for themselves over the last two years, advocates for an infrastructure package still claim there could be enough push for action.

What’s Next

With the ball in the president’s court, Schumer expressed interest in hearing Trump’s ideas on funding during their next scheduled meeting. He also added that Trump’s views would be a “crucial point” in moving forward with their cooperation.

In hopes that legislation could be ready by June or July, committees from both chambers of Congress have started to lay the groundwork for an infrastructure bill.

The House of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will also be giving every House lawmaker a chance to share their infrastructure priorities on Wednesday.

   

Tagged categories: Funding; Government; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; Laws and litigation; NA; North America; President Trump; Program/Project Management; Spending

Comment from Lou Lyras, (5/6/2019, 8:05 AM)

The conversation is great. The "how will it be paid" is difficult. I am in favor of government investment. This investment will return billions of dollars to our economy. The other problem is that the two parties are not in agreement. Aside from the President and some staff, there where no Republicans in the room with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. That doesn't help. I hope they will come to some sort of bipartisan solution. Finally, 2T is not really enough, but it is a start.


Comment from Michael Halliwell, (5/7/2019, 11:28 AM)

If the plan goes ahead, the "how it will be paid" is easy: by taxpayers. It will either result in A) a tax hike or B) a re-allocation of funds (i.e. cuts in other areas) from other taxpayer funded endeavors.


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