GOP lawmaker: White House, Congress have begun crafting infrastructure bill

GOP lawmaker: White House, Congress have begun crafting infrastructure bill

The White House and members of Congress have begun crafting President Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure package, according to a top House Republican.

The Trump administration has been trading paper with lawmakers in recent days about ideas for the rebuilding effort, though the process is still in the early stages, Rep. Sam GravesSamuel (Sam) Bruce GravesThe Hill Interview: Missouri Republican has gavel on his radar Trump promises to unveil infrastructure plan after tax reform Trump admin launches program to help veterans become commercial pilots MORE (R-Mo.) told The Hill.

“We’re just now starting to work with the White House. They’re giving us their feedback, so we’re starting to see some feedback, ideas, things like that,” said Graves, the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on highways and transit.

“We’re just getting our arms around that, trying to figure out funding, cost, how we’re going to prioritize those dollars. So now that is taking a heavy precedent.”

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Trump’s infrastructure plan has largely remained stalled on the sidelines, but officials are beginning to ramp up work on the proposal in anticipation of Congress passing an overhaul of the tax code.

The White House has promised to turn to infrastructure immediately after taxes.

The House is expected to pass its tax plan on Thursday, though the timeline is less clear in the Senate. Republicans are aiming to pass both bills – and negotiate a final product – by Christmas.

“The infrastructure package is coming right behind that,” Graves said. “If we get taxes done, we’ll pivot.”

The administration outlined a brief sketch of Trump’s infrastructure vision in his budget request this spring, but has yet to unveil any more public details.

However, White House tech policy adviser Reed Cordish said at an Internet Association conference on Monday that the administration currently has a detailed, 70-page memo of infrastructure principles.

The White House document will be submitted to Congress and serve as a building block for lawmakers to draft an actual legislative package, Cordish said.

But Graves does not expect a final bill to be ready until early next year.

“It would be hard to see a bill this year,” he said.