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Trump, Democrats Want $2 Trillion for Infrastructure

According to news reports, Democratic congressional leaders announced April 30 after a meeting with President Donald Trump that an agreement had been reached on the price tag for a potential infrastructure plan: $2 trillion.

There is still no guarantee a plan that both sides agree to will ultimately come together and so far it appears that many details – including how to pay for it – have not yet been worked out. But the announcement nevertheless marked a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation, coming when the relationship between congressional Democrats and the President has become increasingly strained as Democratic lawmakers pursue investigations into Trump, his finances and his administration.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer emerged from the meeting at the White House signaling optimism and describing it as a first step toward finding common ground. Both Schumer and Pelosi said they'd agreed to meet again to discuss more details, including how to pay for an infrastructure improvement plan. 

"It was a very constructive meeting," Schumer told reporters outside the White House. "We agreed on a number, which was very, very, good, $2 trillion for infrastructure. Originally, we had started a little lower and even the President was eager to push it up to $2 trillion. That is a very good thing."

Raising the question of how to pay for any plan, which could become the key sticking point in negotiations, Schumer added, "We told the President that we needed his ideas on funding. ... Where does he propose that we can fund this? Because certainly in the Senate, if we don't have him on board it would be very hard to get the Senate to go along. We said we would meet in three weeks and he would present to us some of his ideas on funding. So this was a very, very good start and we hope it will go to a constructive conclusion."

National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association President and CEO Michael W. Johnson called on all parties to join together in plotting the course for meaningful infrastructure investment. 

“I am encouraged by today’s upcoming meeting at the White House and call on the President, Speaker and Minority Leader to work together to invest in America’s infrastructure," he said. "The commitment of these leaders to work across the aisle is crucial to any success of reaching passage of legislation to revitalize our neglected infrastructure, which includes more than roads and bridges but also energy infrastructure, airports, medical facilities and the like. 

“America is losing ground as a leader in investing in our infrastructure, while other countries double down on improving their own," he added. "Inadequate infrastructure has a cost that is paid each and every day by the American public through increased car repairs, extended time in traffic delays and the increased cost of goods and services that must use the same roads and bridges. The time is now for our elected leaders to forge together on a plan to fund significant infrastructure investment and to solidify the Highway Trust Fund.”  

American Road & Transportation Builders Association President and CEO Dave Bauer said, “Common ground has always been there for the taking when it comes to making major new infrastructure investments. Today’s meeting was a positive and constructive step forward in what should be a bipartisan process. The foundational pillar of any long-term infrastructure package is a sustainable, growing, user-fee based revenue stream for the Highway Trust Fund. It remains the linchpin for any final and meaningful deal between the Trump administration and Congress."

Association of Equipment Manufacturers President Dennis Slater said, "By passing a comprehensive infrastructure bill in 2019, Republicans and Democrats have an opportunity to create jobs and keep our nation strong, Today’s meeting is a new opportunity to work across the aisle on a legislative solution that works for all Americans. One of the fundamental responsibilities of the federal government is to provide a safe and well-maintained infrastructure to allow for the transportation of goods and services that keep our nation strong. We believe there are several viable solutions on the table that can provide a long-term funding solution for the Highway Trust Fund, but a renegotiation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is not one of them. Tax reform works and it’s helped boost our economy, benefiting millions of American workers. By kicking the can further down the road, our country risks losing tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity if Republicans and Democrats don’t work together. Now is the time for bipartisan leadership.”