Transportation

Dem labels infrastructure ‘top thing’ Trump can accomplish

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) believes President Trump could score a major legislative victory if he negotiates with Democrats on a $1 trillion infrastructure package.

Klobuchar said Monday evening that Democrats have repeatedly shown openness to working with Trump on a rebuilding proposal and dismissed concerns that her party would be reluctant to hand the GOP a win before the 2018 midterm elections.

“I was surprised the White House didn’t lead with it,” Klobuchar said at an infrastructure event sponsored by Politico. “There’s a lot of momentum for infrastructure funding right now, and the president is going to have to decide. I would list this as the top thing he could get done if he wants to go for it.”

{mosads}Infrastructure spending was long championed by Democrats and former President Obama, but the idea often ran into a buzzsaw of opposition from Republicans and fiscal conservatives reluctant to back massive federal spending on transportation.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), chairwoman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on surface transportation, seemed to acknowledge the GOP pushback on infrastructure during Monday’s event.

“I really didn’t expect infrastructure to come up this year, to be truthful with you,” Fischer said. “But in the last six weeks, the last month, it’s nice to hear the discussion now taking place and people are really looking ahead. And it’s going to happen.”

The White House has ramped up its focus on infrastructure in recent weeks as the administration scrambles to put points on the board following the stalled effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Trump said last week his infrastructure proposal is “coming fast,” while Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao signaled that the plan would likely be debuted this summer.

But infrastructure will face its own set of challenges, with the biggest hurdle likely to be coming up with a palatable offset to help pay for the bill.

“I still think there’s a very good chance,” Klobuchar said. “The debate is going to be about funding, and the different funding proposals, but hopefully there’s a way to come together.”

Tags Amy Klobuchar Deb Fischer

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