Trump to release infrastructure plan next month

Trump to release infrastructure plan next month
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti 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.
 
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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 ShusterIssa retiring from Congress House Foreign Affairs chairman to retire This week: Clock ticks toward shutdown deadline MORE (R-Pa.) told The Hill after emerging from Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders pitch children's health funding in plan to avert shutdown Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year 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 YohoTrouble brewing as GOP struggles with spending bill votes A retreat in American diplomacy Trump huddles with transportation leaders ahead of expected infrastructure plan 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.