Trump exploring infrastructure bank earns Dem praise

Trump exploring infrastructure bank earns Dem praise
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President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' MORE is reportedly exploring whether to establish a national infrastructure bank, an idea long favored by Democrats that has gone nowhere under the GOP-led Congress.

Steven Mnuchin, a member of the transition team’s executive committee, told reporters Wednesday that an infrastructure bank was one idea being floated to help fix the country’s roads and bridges, according to Bloomberg.

The news quickly drew praise from Democratic Rep. John Delaney (Md.), who has been pushing to use revenues from international tax reform to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

“We have a big bipartisan coalition in Congress that is ready to work on rebuilding America using revenues from international tax reform, and we are encouraged that Mr. Mnuchin has indicated that the next Administration is moving in this direction,” Delaney said in a statement. “If they are serious about a real solution, this is where they should look.”

The idea behind the bank is to offer low-interest loans and other financial assistance to encourage investors to back national infrastructure projects.

Trump has long talked about the need to repair the country’s roads, bridges and airports, but the details of his final proposal are still in flux.

The real estate mogul has called for $550 billion worth of infrastructure investment paid for by bonds, as well as a $1 trillion package financed by offering tax credits to private investors and leveraging revenues from public-private partnerships.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Ex-Clinton aide: Dems should make 2020 'about integrity' Trump mounts Rust Belt defense MORE included an infrastructure bank in her proposal. After Trump’s victory, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) signaled that Democrats would be willing to work with the president-elect on a jobs and infrastructure package.

“We can work together to quickly pass a robust infrastructure jobs bill,” Pelosi said in a statement.

The Obama administration has long been pressing Congress to act on transportation and infrastructure spending.

But in 2011, Republicans blocked Obama’s $447 billion package that included an infrastructure bank because of its price tag, despite the support from business and labor groups.

Bloomberg noted that Trump’s campaign was critical of Clinton’s proposed infrastructure bank, saying it would be "controlled by politicians and bureaucrats in Washington."

When pressed on whether an infrastructure bank was likely to muster support from a GOP-led Congress, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneCongress should take action to stop unfair taxation of the digital economy The fear of colorectal cancer as a springboard for change Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law MORE (R-S.D.), chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said it was “possible.”

But the Senate’s No. 3 Republican cautioned that any infrastructure plan would probably have to be coupled with other conservative priorities.

"There’s an interest among our members, frankly on both sides, in doing something on infrastructure," Thune told reporters Wednesday. “But my guess is, if that gets done, it probably hitches a ride on tax reform. I don’t know that just an infrastructure bill on its own, as a standalone, would go anywhere.”