Trump to release infrastructure plan next month

Trump to release infrastructure plan next month
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE will unveil his long-awaited proposal to rebuild the nation's infrastructure next month, a White House official told The Hill on Thursday.

Trump will release "detailed legislative principles" in early January, the official said, delivering on a longstanding promise to invest in America's infrastructure. Trump had vowed during the 2016 campaign to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure projects, though the issue has taken a backseat to other GOP priorities in Congress this year.

But the White House has been working behind the scenes to craft a detailed, 70-page infrastructure memo. The document, which will be submitted to Congress next month, will likely serve as the building block for lawmakers to write actual legislation.

The administration has long said it wants to use $200 billion in federal seed money, along with significant permit reform and other incentives, to leverage $1 trillion worth of overall infrastructure investment.

The president indicated in late November that the White House would move on to infrastructure after the Republican-led Congress passed the GOP tax reform plan.

Republicans are expected to iron out differences between their tax bills in the coming weeks after the House passed its plan last month and the Senate passed its version late last week.

“We’ll be submitting plans on infrastructure … soon after taxes,” Trump said in November at the White House.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill ShusterWilliam (Bill) Franklin ShusterTrump talk riles advocates on both sides of gas tax GOP chairman: Trump infrastructure bill could be ready ‘closer to the summer’ Overnight Finance: Lawmakers, Treasury look to close tax law loopholes | Trump says he backs gas tax hike | Markets rise despite higher inflation | Fannie Mae asks for .7B MORE (R-Pa.) told The Hill after emerging from Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan MORE's (R-Wis.) office Wednesday that he had discussed infrastructure with leadership, another sign that the rebuilding initiative could be imminent.

Critics of the Trump administration say that passing an infrastructure bill is unlikely after the White House missed an opportunity to link it directly to the tax-reform bill.

“If they’d taken up infrastructure, we’d have a bill today and have the money to fund it,” said former Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), who helmed the Department of Transportation under President Obama. 

“Nothing happened this year, so the prospects of anything happening next year I think are pretty slim," he said.

The White House scrapped plans earlier this year for a council of outside advisers to help the Trump administration craft an infrastructure bill.

And while there is wide consensus on Capitol Hill about the need to upgrade crumbling U.S. infrastructure, there is far less agreement over how to pay for it.

One of the potential infrastructure offsets – international tax reform – is instead being used to pay for the GOP tax package.

Rep. Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoTo end sugar subsidies, conservatives can't launch a frontal attack Fierce battle erupts over releasing intelligence report Trouble brewing as GOP struggles with spending bill votes MORE (R-Fla.), a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, said on Thursday that lawmakers are "kicking around" a new funding idea, though he declined to elaborate.

"It's outside of the box thinking," Yoho told The Hill.