Report: Trump wants to move tax reform, infrastructure together

Report: Trump wants to move tax reform, infrastructure together
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President Trump reportedly wants to advance tax reform and infrastructure spending bills simultaneously, after failing to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Axios reported Monday evening that the administration is now considering moving the two issues at the same time in Congress, though not necessarily combined in the same legislative vehicle.

Infrastructure spending was supposed to take a back seat to healthcare and tax reform this year, with lawmakers predicting that the proposal wouldn’t take shape until the fall.

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But that timeline may be accelerated now that healthcare is on the back burner and lawmakers have more breathing room to work on a rebuilding package.

Axios noted that the administration is eager to score a victory after its bruising defeat on healthcare, with Trump more willing to make a deal with Democrats to do so.

“It certainly changes the calculus of the timing with the defeat of healthcare," Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told Axios. "Infrastructure is always something, you can see it, you can feel it, you can taste it.”

“Having members go back next year when it comes time for the election season to start, ... for them to be able to go back home and say, 'Hey, we're going to get this done, this bridge, this transit system, this roadway, this whatever,' the infrastructure piece, it's coming,” he added.

Coupling infrastructure with tax reform could get Democrats to support a tax overhaul and could bring fiscal conservatives on board with massive transportation spending.

But even though infrastructure is regarded as one of the few bipartisan issues in Congress, Republicans and Democrats are not united in how to do it. Democrats think direct federal spending should be used to make transportation upgrades, while the GOP prefers to leverage private-sector money. And neither party agrees on how to pay for it.