Key House committee chairman to meet with Mnuchin on infrastructure next week

Key House committee chairman to meet with Mnuchin on infrastructure next week
© Greg Nash

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealHouse Democrats' bill would create a second round of direct coronavirus relief payments Lawmakers question why dead people are getting coronavirus checks Congress, Treasury tussle over IRS guidance on .2T COVID-19 package MORE (D-Mass.) said he plans to meet with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: National Portrait Gallery's Kim Sajet says this era rewiring people's relationship with culture, art; Trump's war with Twitter heats up How lawmaker ties helped shape Fed chairman's COVID-19 response Business groups throw support behind House Democrat's bill to provide pandemic risk insurance MORE next week in the hopes of rekindling an infrastructure funding deal with the Trump administration, despite the tensions flaring across the Capitol in the impeachment trial.

Neal told reporters in Massachusetts Tuesday night that he and Mnuchin agreed to discuss a bipartisan infrastructure bill following the recent deal on the revised U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade pact that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes MORE is expected to sign into law in the coming days.

"We need to agree on some numbers and proceed on the basis that the country badly needs it, and I think that it is doable," Neal said, according to the State House News Service.

Attempts by Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse cancels planned Thursday vote on FISA The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US virus deaths exceed 100,000; Pelosi pulls FISA bill Pelosi pulls vote on FISA bill after Trump veto threat MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLawmakers introduce bill to invest 0 billion in science, tech research The Democrats' out-party advantage in 2020 Democratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies MORE (D-N.Y.) to broker infrastructure legislation with Trump last year collapsed when the president walked out of a meeting. Trump had taken offense at Pelosi accusing him of being "engaged in a cover-up" and said he wouldn't work with Democrats while they are investigating him.

But Neal maintained that there is incentive on both sides to work out a deal, even in an election year.

"I think big things can get done in election years," Neal said. "This is one of those issues that's interesting because the president needs it and we want it."

Pelosi said at a press conference last Thursday that Democrats plan to roll out infrastructure legislation next week when the House returns from recess.

"It is something we talked about during the campaign. It is something that the president talked about as a priority during the campaign. We thought we would be able to move in a positive way on this," Pelosi said.

"So far, they have not come on board. However, we’ve decided now we'll just have to go forward, and we do believe that now, with the passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, that they might be interested in cooperating in other ways," Pelosi added.

A spokeswoman for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has been taking the lead on a legislative framework, said there is no bill text yet but that there may be more details next week.

Before Trump and Democratic leaders ended their talks last spring, they had agreed to pursue a $2 trillion infrastructure package. But it was unclear how they would agree on ways to pay for the infrastructure investments.

Still, the timing of discussing an infrastructure plan next week would come as the Senate is in the middle of the trial considering the two articles of impeachment against Trump over his dealings with Ukraine.

Tensions already began flaring Tuesday when the Senate considered a resolution establishing the rules for the impeachment trial, which passed around 2 a.m.

At one point late into the night, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued a rare admonishment to the House impeachment managers and Trump's defense team following a harsh exchange over an amendment seeking to subpoena former White House national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonHave the courage to recognize Taiwan McConnell says Obama administration 'did leave behind' pandemic plan Trump company lawyer warned Michael Cohen not to write 'tell-all' book: report MORE.