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 NealLawmakers offer bipartisan bill to encourage retirement savings Democrats express concerns about IRS readiness for next year's filing season On The Money: Kudlow confident that Trump can 'round up' Senate GOP behind coronavirus relief deal | US deficit spikes to record .1T MORE (D-Mass.) said he plans to meet with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinMcConnell and Schumer's relationship shredded after court brawl On The Money: Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election | Holiday spending estimates lowest in four years | Domestic workers saw jobs, hours plummet due to COVID Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election 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 TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline 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 PelosiPelosi: Trump should accept election results 'like a man' The spectre of pension failures haunts this election Microsoft: Iranian hacking group targeting attendees of major international security conferences MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Graham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Lewandowski: Trump 'wants to see every Republican reelected regardless of ... if they break with the president' 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 BoltonJohn Bolton in heated exchange with BBC anchor over lack of impeachment testimony President Trump: To know him is to 'No' him Obama highlights Biden's tweet from a year ago warning Trump wasn't ready for pandemic MORE.