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 NealWyden, Mnuchin clash over Trump tax returns, Hunter Biden probe Overnight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus White House warns of raising health costs in debate over surprise medical bills MORE (D-Mass.) said he plans to meet with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBloomberg proposes financial transaction tax GOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law On The Money: Deficit spikes 25 percent through January | Mnuchin declines to say why Trump pulled Treasury nominee who oversaw Roger Stone case | Lawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts 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 TrumpChasten Buttigieg: 'I've been dealing with the likes of Rush Limbaugh my entire life' Lawmakers paint different pictures of Trump's 'opportunity zone' program We must not turn our heads from the effects of traumatic brain injuries 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.

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Attempts by Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBloomberg faces criticism for tweet showing altered debate moment Trump knocks Democrats at rally: Bloomberg 'getting pounded' Biden earns endorsement from former House impeachment manager MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocratic senators urge Trump administration to request emergency funding for coronavirus response Barr to testify before House Judiciary panel Graham won't call Barr to testify over Roger Stone sentencing recommendation 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.

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"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 BoltonBolton on impeachment: 'My testimony would have made no difference to the ultimate outcome' Overnight Defense: Dem senator met with Iranian foreign minister | Meeting draws criticism from right | Lawmakers push back at Pentagon funding for wall We should listen to John Bolton MORE.