Trump huddles with transportation leaders ahead of expected infrastructure plan
President Trump huddled with key transportation leaders at the White House on Monday ahead of the administration’s release of its long-awaited infrastructure proposal next month.
Trump met with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), who are both expected to be key players in the president’s rebuilding initiative.
“Today’s meeting with the President was a very positive step forward as we begin to work towards improving America’s infrastructure,” Shuster said in a statement. “We had a good, productive discussion, and I look forward to working with the President, the Administration, and my congressional colleagues as we move into the new year to identify specific proposals and priorities.”
Also joining the Oval Office meeting were Chief of Staff John Kelly, Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
“The President had a productive meeting with Rep. Shuster, during which they discussed the President’s bold plan for rebuilding America’s infrastructure, which has fallen into an unacceptable condition due to decades of misguided policies,” said a White House spokeswoman. “He looks forward to working with Rep. Shuster and his colleagues in Congress to turn this vision into legislation next year.”
The White House said it plans to submit “detailed legislative principles” to Congress in early January outlining Trump’s infrastructure vision. Officials are still putting the finishing touches on the roughly 70-page document, which is expected to serve as the building block for lawmakers to write actual legislation next year.
The administration has said it wants to use $200 billion in federal seed money, along with significant permit reform and other incentives, to leverage $1 trillion worth of overall infrastructure investment in the country.
Trump has long promised to upgrade U.S. roads, bridges and other public works, but the issue has taken a back seat to other GOP priorities in Congress this year.
But the president indicated in late November that the White House would move on to infrastructure immediately after the GOP-led Congress passed its tax-reform plan, which Republicans are hoping to have on Trump’s desk by Christmas.
The biggest question looming over the massive infrastructure proposal is how to cover its price tag.
One of the potential infrastructure offsets — international tax reform — is instead being used to pay for the GOP tax package.
Some lawmakers have already been bracing for Trump’s infrastructure plans to land on Capitol Hill.
Shuster said he met with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week to discuss the infrastructure effort.
The moderate Problem Solvers Caucus has been working on their own report to highlight some bipartisan rebuilding ideas.
And Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, said last week that lawmakers are “kicking around” a new infrastructure funding idea, though he declined to elaborate.
“It’s outside of the box thinking,” Yoho told The Hill.
-This story was updated at 4:55 p.m.
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