Schumer: Infrastructure tax credits won’t ‘get the job done’


New Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer reiterated on Tuesday that Democrats are open to working with President-elect Donald Trump on his promised $1 trillion infrastructure package, but he said new revenue would be required.

The New York Democrat warned that private tax credits won’t be enough to “get the job done” when it comes to financing massive infrastructure spending.

“The President-elect said a great many things about rebuilding our infrastructure. Democrats welcome that discussion. But how is he going to do it?” Schumer said in his first floor speech of the new Congress. “A program of tax credits isn’t going to get the job done, no matter how large.”

{mosads}Trump has long talked about the need to rebuild the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges and airports, comparing them unfavorably to those of other nations. And Democratic leaders including Schumer have identified infrastructure as one of the few issues that could see bipartisan support in the new Congress.

“We have thousands of bridges, tunnels, highways, schools, wastewater systems and airports in need of repairs,” Schumer said. “Not only in our big cities, but in rural and suburban communities throughout the country.”

Trump has floated an infrastructure proposal that would offer $137 billion in federal tax credits to private investors who back transportation projects, which he claims would unlock $1 trillion worth of investment.

But Democrats are likely to balk at any plan that lacks direct federal spending. They argue that private financing would only attract projects that can recoup their investment costs, such as toll roads.

“We need significant, direct spending,” Schumer said. “How does the president-elect plan to get that done?”

Trump doesn’t need the support of Democrats in the House but he will need some Democratic support in the Senate, where it takes 60 votes to advance legislation.

The New York Post reported over the weekend that Trump told Schumer — a fellow New Yorker with whom he has a long history — that he likes him more than he likes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) or House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)

Asked about the report, Schumer told CNN that the real estate mogul said “something close to it.”

“When you get to be in my position, people do tend to want to flatter you and you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt,” Schumer added.

Jordain Carney contributed to this report.

Tags Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan

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