Trump infrastructure policy adviser to leave White House
DJ Gribbin, President Trump’s infrastructure policy adviser, is departing the White House as the administration’s rebuilding plan appears to have hit a wall in Congress.
Gribbin, who led the Trump administration’s push for an infrastructure proposal that was released in February, is “moving on to new opportunities,” according to a White House official.
“Since he joined the team early last year, DJ has played an important part in coordinating the Administration-wide process behind the President’s infrastructure initiative,” national economic adviser Gary Cohn, who is also leaving the administration, said in a statement Tuesday.
“I am grateful for his service and fully believe that the plan President Trump delivered to Congress, combined with the work we are doing administratively, will have a transformational impact on our economy.”
Gribbin has been Trump’s point person on infrastructure policy, fiercely defending the administration’s push to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure.
His exit from the White House comes as the Trump administration’s efforts to promote a sweeping infrastructure package appear to have stalled in Congress.
During a speech in Ohio last week that was billed as an infrastructure event, the president went off-script about various other topics while saying that a rebuilding plan in Congress will likely come after this year’s midterm elections.
The administration rolled out its highly anticipated infrastructure blueprint in February after months of delay. But the plan was met with harsh criticism from Democrats and skepticism from some Republicans over how the government could fund an overhaul of U.S. public works.
Gribbin fiercely defended the infrastructure framework against criticism that it skirts the federal government’s historic role in rebuilding.
“We still support a strong federal government role in funding infrastructure,” Gribbin told a luncheon hosted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials on March 1. “But it’s important to note that every dollar invested in infrastructure comes out of the pockets of taxpayers.”
Gribbin was also memorably on hand last spring when Trump brought a giant chart to a speech to builders when discussing the regulations that must be complied with when building highways.
The White House announced shortly after Trump took office that Gribbin would join the administration as a special assistant to the president for infrastructure policy. He previously worked at Macquarie Capital, a firm where he led efforts on public-private partnerships, a key component of the administration’s rebuilding proposal.
The White House proposal calls for $200 billion of federal seed money with the goal of generating a $1.5 trillion package. But Democratic lawmakers quickly slammed the plan earlier this year, arguing it does not include enough federal dollars to have a meaningful impact on rebuilding.
Meanwhile, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said a rebuilding overhaul will come about in multiple pieces of legislation, pointing to two must-pass bills and a waterways bill Congress regularly re-ups every two years.
Updated: 5:10 p.m.
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