Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Infrastructure Bringing Together Trump, Democratic Leaders
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 5 years ago on
April 30, 2019

Share

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders agreed Tuesday to work together on a $2 trillion infrastructure package — but put off for later the difficult question of how to pay for it.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said there was “good will in the meeting” — a marked departure from the last meeting between Trump, Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which ended with Trump walking out in a huff. Schumer said the two sides agreed that infrastructure investments create jobs and make the United States more competitive economically with the rest of the world.
Most importantly, Schumer said, “we agreed on a number.”
“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 said.
Added Pelosi: “We did come to one agreement: that the agreement would be big and bold.”
But one big issue is how to pay for the repairs. The nation’s top business groups and labor unions support increasing the federal tax, currently 18.3 cents a gallon. It was last raised in 1993.
Asked whether Trump supports raising the gas tax, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said: “This president is the guy who lowers taxes.”
Conway acknowledged that “there’s no question” that infrastructure repairs need to be paid for.

High Tensions Over Escalating Democratic Investigations

The last time Trump sat down with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, the president walked out in a huff and dismissed their government shutdown talks as a “total waste of time.”

“I think a deal can be had if everybody is willing to put their battle axes away for a period.” — Republican Rep. Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania
Nearly four months later, the leaders came together again Tuesday — with an entourage of other Democratic leaders — in search of a plan to fix the country’s crumbling infrastructure. Trump, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, adviser Ivanka Trump and a half-dozen other administration officials met with the 12 Democrats in the Cabinet Room.
Infrastructure is seen as the one issue with the best chance for the two sides to work together this Congress — and even that isn’t given good odds for a fruitful ending.
The meeting plays out against the backdrop of high tensions over escalating Democratic investigations following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian meddling. Lawmakers and the Republican president also have on eye on the 2020 elections, meaning every provision of an infrastructure package — including how to pay for it — will be made with that in mind.
More than one “infrastructure week” already has come and gone over the past two years with nothing to show for it. Still, advocates for an infrastructure package boost see a narrow window for action.
“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, who served as chairman of the House’s transportation committee for six years.
A compromise could offer political benefits to both sides. Trump’s re-election prospects are tied to a strong economy that would get another boost from new road and bridge projects. House Democrats have passed an array of bills that have gone nowhere in the GOP-controlled Senate.
Photo of Kellyanne Conway
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway talks with reporters outside the White House, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Two Sides Also Have Some Competing Priorities

Pelosi has dozens of new Democratic House members who won in competitive districts, said Shuster, and “they need to be able to go home next year and say they’ve accomplished something.”
But the two sides also have some competing priorities that will complicate matters. The president and Republican leaders want to speed up the permitting process for building energy and transportation projects and that’s not on most Democratic lawmakers’ to-do lists. Democrats are looking for ways to pay for greater infrastructure spending without adding to the national debt, and that could mean higher fuel taxes.
Pelosi and Schumer on Monday sent Trump a letter setting out their priorities, including a call for “substantial, new and real revenue” and investments to make infrastructure more resilient to climate change. Neither of those bolsters confidence in prospects for a deal. Several Democratic lawmakers from committees with jurisdiction on infrastructure issues are also expected to attend the White House meeting, but no Republican lawmakers.
Committees in both chambers of Congress have started to lay the groundwork for an infrastructure bill through hearings, with Democratic lawmakers hoping to have legislation ready for consideration by June or July.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will give every House lawmaker a chance to share their infrastructure priorities on Wednesday.
Then, the committee’s chairman, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., will lead a delegation to visit a dilapidated, century-old tunnel that connects New Jersey and New York. Experts say a new tunnel is essential to ensuring reliable rail travel throughout the Northeast, but the price tag will be steep.

The Federal Tax on Gasoline Now Stands at 18.3 Cents per Gallon

The infrastructure issue has aligned the nation’s top business groups and unions, a rarity in Washington. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has proposed increasing the federal fuel tax 5 cents a year for five years, then allowing it to increase with inflation. The federal tax on gasoline now stands at 18.3 cents per gallon and at 24.3 cents per gallon for diesel fuel. The last time the federal gas tax went up was in 1993.

“We’re going to support any elected official willing to have a serious discussion and vote to raise revenue for infrastructure.” — Ed Mortimer, a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Ed Mortimer, a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the group would have the back of lawmakers who face criticism back home for supporting a higher federal gas tax.
“We’re going to support any elected official willing to have a serious discussion and vote to raise revenue for infrastructure,” Mortimer said.
So far this year, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio and Virginia have enacted gas tax increases, although Virginia’s only applies to a portion of the state. Some 30 states have done so since 2013.
Schumer advocated Monday for rescinding portions of the tax cut bill Republicans passed in 2017 to pay for infrastructure.
“By reversing only the most egregious giveaways in President Trump’s tax bill, those given to the wealthiest of the wealthy, and raising the corporate tax cut a smidge we could finance the entirety of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill,” Schumer said.
This story has been updated to include comments from congressional leaders following Tuesday’s meeting with President Trump.

DON'T MISS

Tabloid Publisher Says He Pledged to Be Trump Campaign’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ During 2016 Race

DON'T MISS

General Motors Reports Strong First-Quarter Profits as Prices Help Offset Small US Sales Dip

DON'T MISS

Caitlin Clark Is Set to Sign a New Nike Deal Valued at $28 Million Over 8 Years, Reports Say

DON'T MISS

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

DON'T MISS

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

DON'T MISS

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

DON'T MISS

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

DON'T MISS

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

DON'T MISS

Google Fires More Workers Who Protested Its Deal With Israel

DON'T MISS

LeBron James Rants at NBA’s Replay Center for Calls, Lakers Lose on Buzzer-Beater

UP NEXT

What Do Supreme Court Justices Say About Homelessness?

UP NEXT

Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson Pledged $10M for Maui Wildfire Survivors. They Gave Much More.

UP NEXT

15 People Injured When Tram Collides With Guardrail at Universal Studios Theme Park

UP NEXT

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

UP NEXT

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

UP NEXT

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

UP NEXT

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

UP NEXT

Full Jury and 6 Alternates Seated in Trump’s Hush Money Trial

UP NEXT

Barbara Corcoran: 1% Interest Rate Drop Will Send Housing Prices ‘Through the Roof’

UP NEXT

Juror Dismissed From Trump Hush Money Trial. Prosecutors Seek to Hold Former President in Contempt

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

2 hours ago

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

2 hours ago

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

2 hours ago

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

3 hours ago

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

3 hours ago

Google Fires More Workers Who Protested Its Deal With Israel

4 hours ago

LeBron James Rants at NBA’s Replay Center for Calls, Lakers Lose on Buzzer-Beater

4 hours ago

Winn Sharp Again, Conforto Homers as Giants Clip Mets

4 hours ago

CA Lawmakers Reject Bill Cracking Down on Utilities Spending Customers’ Money

4 hours ago

What Do Supreme Court Justices Say About Homelessness?

4 hours ago

Tabloid Publisher Says He Pledged to Be Trump Campaign’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ During 2016 Race

NEW YORK — A veteran tabloid publisher testified Tuesday that he pledged to be Donald Trump’s “eyes and ears” during his 2016 pr...

51 mins ago

51 mins ago

Tabloid Publisher Says He Pledged to Be Trump Campaign’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ During 2016 Race

58 mins ago

General Motors Reports Strong First-Quarter Profits as Prices Help Offset Small US Sales Dip

2 hours ago

Caitlin Clark Is Set to Sign a New Nike Deal Valued at $28 Million Over 8 Years, Reports Say

2 hours ago

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

2 hours ago

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

2 hours ago

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

3 hours ago

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

3 hours ago

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend